The burrowing owls that make Cesar Chavez Park their winter home are bringing together dog owners and bird fans who are both urging the city to do more to enforce leash laws to prevent the rare birds from being harassed and chased from the park.
The small brown and cream mottled owls, with their piercing yellow eyes and long skinny legs, face continued threats at the park, including dogs disturbing their protected nesting areas when owners let them wander outside the park’s off-leash zone with minimal supervision.
Two owls returned to the park this winter season, after none were spotted last season, according to tallies from the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
Bird watchers are concerned that the uncontrolled dogs and other predators — such as other raptors and feral cats — could chase the tiny owls away from the park for good. Dog owners who frequent the park say they are also concerned and want the city to step in and do something about it.