Great horned owl now protected in Minnesota
Article Date: 2005-06-06 Source: http://www.winonadailynews.com
By Jeff Dankert
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. - The list of Minnesota bird species defined as ''unprotected'' got shorter by one last Friday.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill removing the great horned owl, counting it among the majority of birds in the state protected under fish and game laws.
Prior to Friday, the unprotected list read ''English sparrow, blackbird,
starling, magpie, cormorant, common pigeon, chukar partridge, quail other than
bob-white quail, and mute swan, and great horned owl.''
The owl can thank Karla Kinstler, director of the Houston Nature Center, and her live mascot, Alice, the great horned owl.
"Yea! I'm happy," Kinstler said Thursday.
Kinstler said in the early 1900s, all hawks, owls and eagles were listed as
unprotected. Over time, the Legislature has removed them from the list.
"They just never got around to the great horned owl," she said.
Kinstler convinced Rep. Ray Cox, R-Northfield, to introduce a bill to protect
the owl. Although he does not represent Houston County, he is vice chairman of
the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee and Kinstler believed this
was a better strategy than seeking local lawmakers' support.
Kinstler and Alice made two trips to St. Paul this spring to testify before
House and Senate committees about the bill. She thought there might be
opposition from the poultry industry, because the owls sometimes kill chickens.
In the end, there was no resistance, she said.
"Ray Cox really did his homework on this," Kinstler said.
The bill takes effect Aug. 1. A person authorized to kill a great horned owl
under a federal permit does not need a state permit, the new bill says.
Because the state now protects the bird, as it has been at the federal level,
Kinstler needs a state permit to keep Alice for educational purposes. The
8-year-old owl was rehabilitated from an injury and is not able to survive in
The state promised Kinstler it will issue the first educational permit to her,
Kinstler said it is wise to fight one battle at a time. She remains puzzled why
other listings, such as weasels and blackbirds, remain unprotected. There are
about a half-dozen species of blackbirds and three kinds of weasels in the
State statute lists the least weasel as a species of special concern, an
The Houston Nature Center is one block north of Highways 16 and 76 in Houston at
Trailhead Park. For information, call (507) 896-4668, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
2005-03-17 - Raptor Center treating more owl patients by Steven John - 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.
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