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Best Hooters Miami 2008 - Burrowing owls in Miami Gardens

In 2005, during those dark days following Hurricane Wilma, a bunch (gaggle? den?) of burrowing owls decided to take refuge in a grassy area at 3000 NW 199th St. in Miami Gardens. Problem was, the city planned to build a $15.2-million community center there. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission protected the owls, so that meant the community center developer had to work around them (a familiar problem if you've read Carl Hiaasen's Hoot). City workers ended up transporting the owls' nests to another corner of the grassy lot. By the time that happened, the cost of construction had dropped because the housing bubble had burst. "The owls probably saved us more than $1 million," says Miami Gardens City Manager Danny Crew. If only the owls could have saved the rest of Miami from real estate woes.

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