Rare owls thrive in ghost town near Los Angeles International Airport

LOS ANGELES -- A newspaper reports that researchers have discovered a group of rare owls thriving in a nature preserve near Los Angeles International Airport.

The Los Angeles Times says Sunday that the 10 burrowing owls are the most seen at LAX Dunes Preserve in 40 years. Among the raptors are a breeding pair that stand guard over a nest.

Scientists attribute the return of the migratory owls to ongoing restoration work at the 300-acre (120-hectare) preserve that used to be the beachfront community of Surfridge. The neighborhoods disappeared decades ago as the jet age boomed.

Biologist Pete Bloom calls the discovery a "real stunner." The Times says the habitat of sand, native brush and invasive weeds is one of the most successful restoration projects in Southern California.

The area is also home to endangered El Segundo blue butterflies.
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