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Snowy owls are a problem

Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids has a problem with snowy owls that see their property as a source for food. Airport officials say they’ve shot and killed nine owls so far to avoid a disaster. The large birds fly low to the ground and can damage an airplane, creating a serious safety hazard. Tara Hernandez, the airport’s spokeswoman said there was an incident a few years ago where a snowy owl hit an engine and forced a jet to land, causing $300,000 damage to the craft. Hernandez estimates the number of owls at Ford Airport is up to four times what normally might be seen there. Wildlife biologists theorize that a disruption in their food supply in northern regions has forced them south. USDA Wildlife Specialist Aaron Bowden says they’ll attempt to trap and relocate the birds. The traps contain live bait, typically a pigeon, to lure the owl inside. Once an owl is captured, Bowden transfers the animal at least 50 miles away in hopes it will not return. Workers at other airports in Michigan have shot the owls as well.  (MRN)

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