Owls have been moving from their native habitat in Canada into the United States. Researchers say the number of owls making the trip is unprecedented. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Christina Shockley
Candian owls have been moving from their native habitat into the United States, including MN, WI, MI, and IA. Researchers say the number of owls making the trip is unprecedented. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Christina Shockley reports:
The Great Gray Boreal , northern hawk, and snow owls live in
the upper reaches of Canada. But hundreds of owls have been flying into the U.S. in search of food. The small mammals they prey on in their native range, like mice, voles, and lemmings, are in the midst of a population crash. Susan Foote-Martin is with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She says it’s common for small-mammal populations to rise and fall. So, even though the owls expend a lot of energy to get here, their stay is temporary.
“They’ll definitely move back. They’re only down here because the population of the animals they eat are down. But there’s also another consideration, and that’s deep snow cover in the areas where they normally live.”
Foote-Martin says the owls have a hard time catching their prey because they burrow deep into the snow. She says if the owls continue to fly into the U.S. over several years, it could signal a problem in their native habitats.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Christina Shockley.