An adult burrowing owl and three young chicks (AP)

An adult burrowing owl and three young chicks (AP)

LAX Dunes Preserve, a barren strip at the end of Los Angeles International Airport runways, is home to 10 rare burrowing owls. (AP)

LAX Dunes Preserve, a barren strip at the end of Los Angeles International Airport runways, is home to 10 rare burrowing owls. (AP)

Burrowing owls at LAX airport don’t seem to mind giant jets like this taking off overhead. (AP)

Burrowing owls at LAX airport don’t seem to mind giant jets like this taking off overhead. (AP)

A burrowing owl keeps an eye on a photographer. (AP)

A burrowing owl keeps an eye on a photographer. (AP)

Owls and the Airport

Posted: April 29, 2019

Plane engines thunder overhead. But that doesn’t bother these new neighbors!

Ten burrowing owls moved into a ghost town near the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). (A ghost town is an empty town. It has buildings but no people.) This many rare owls haven’t been spotted here in 40 years! “This is very exciting—a real stunner,” says Pete Bloom, a biologist.

Surfridge was once a beachfront neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. People built its streets and houses on beautiful sand dunes. But when the LAX airport was built, people moved away. No one wanted to live under the roar of jets. Years later, scientists began restoring the ghost town. They made it into a wildlife preserve called LAX Dunes Preserve.

A preserve is land that keeps rare plants and animals safe. The LAX Dunes Preserve sits between a popular beach and a popular airport. But wildlife seems to like it even though it’s noisy. Visitors aren’t allowed into the preserve. Scientists want to keep its 900 species of plants and animals safe.

Thousands of endangered butterflies have moved into the ghost town. Native evening primrose flowers thrive there. Tiny California gnatcatcher birds build nests at the preserve too. (This endangered bird family has lost its habitat to city development.) Scientists plan to bring more endangered species to the preserve. They search for native animals, like the Pacific pocket mouse, that might flourish there. Even though people abandoned it, the ghost town’s land is priceless for wildlife.

The LAX Dunes Preserve shows us an example of how something that was discarded has become valuable again. Now the ghost town’s empty streets fill up with rare plants and animals. The old town has new life! The Bible gives us the promise that God makes all things new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ― 2 Corinthians 5:17