Raptor Center treating more owl patients
Article Date: 2005-03-17 Source: http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org
By Steven John
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. - A rodent shortage in Canada is forcing thousands of northern owls, great gray owls, and northern hawk owls into Minnesota in search of food. The biggest of the bunch - great grays - have been spotted as far south as Iowa.
The phenomenon is called an owl invasion, and it's caused a dramatic increase in the number of injured birds being treated at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.
Owl invasions occur every seven to 12 years, when the numbers of the owls' prey
(voles, lemmings, and other small rodents) decline in their normal winter
habitat in Canada and northern Minnesota. That means the owls travel south from
their usual habitat in search of food.
Normally the center treats one to three great gray owls a year. So far this
winter, they've seen 90 -- including three new admissions Tuesday alone.
Dr. Julia Ponder, associate director of the Raptor Center, says the owls' main
enemy is cars.
"(Owls) are hunting rodents, which are typically easily found along fields,
along roadsides. And they just seem totally oblivious to cars," Ponder says.
Dr. Ponder estimates the owl influx will cost the center $30,000 this year.
"There is no way to budget for an event like the owl invasion," says Ponder, who
says it costs about $1,000 to rehabilitate and release each owl.
The Raptor Center has received a grant of up to $20,000 from the Katherine A.
Andersen Fund of The St. Paul Foundation to help pay the extra cost of caring
for the owls. It's a matching grant, meaning that every dollar given to the The
Raptor Center for the care of the owls will be matched by the foundation.
The owls' mating season is next month, and the staff hopes to release the owls
back to their natural habitat by that time.
Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org and placed here for comment.
OwlPages.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.
2005-06-06 - Great horned owl now protected in Minnesota by Jeff Dankert - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-03-29 - Foundation helps Raptor Center with gray owl care by Jerret Raffety - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-03-17 - Under proposed legislation, great horned owl to be taken off list of unprotected birds in Minnesota by T.W. Budig - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-03-01 - Raptor Center helping more owls by Jerret Raffety - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-02-23 - Owl invasion draws birders to Minnesota by Chris Niskanen - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-01-25 - Owls traveling south in large numbers by David Hill - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2004-12-18 - Northern Grey Owls Found In City - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2004-12-15 - Increase in Owl Admissions by Sue Kirchoff - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
< Previous News article | Next News Article >
Comment on the above News article.