Snowy owls flocking to Windsor International Airport
Airport authorities have caught and relocated 7 snow owls this year
There is an influx of snowy owls at Windsor International Airport.
Officials there have caught and relocated seven and are working at catching No. 8.
Airport manager Phil Roberts, who is also a member of the Essex Field Naturalists, spotted another snowy owl on the runway.
It's a rare and odd spotting.
Roberts says it has been 15 years since the airport has seen so many snowy owls.
Roberts says the airport's landscape attracts the birds. He says it mimics the arctic, with its wide open space and no trees.
Roberts also thinks lemmings, which are small rodents the birds eat, are a reason for the owls landing in the area.
The large birds are a hazard to aircraft.
So, airport authorities capture the birds, tag them and then release them at least 50 km away from the airport.
Once the owls leave the airport, Roberts says they will stay in Essex County
"Probably for the remainder of the winter, and then as things warm up they'll start making their ways back to the arctic," Roberts said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that over a two-week span earlier this month, five planes at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports have been struck by snowy owls.
In a statement released Dec. 9, the agency said it is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to immediately implement a program to trap and relocate snowy owls that pose a threat to aircraft.
Earlier this month, birders in New Brunswick spotted at least 30 snowy owls in the province. That's the highest number 20-year New Brunswick birding veteran Alain Clavette can recall.
With files from the Associated Press