Saturday, December 23, 2017

Snowy Owl safely captured under new procedure at Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH)

"Today a local, licensed falconer, assisted by Wittman Regional Airport Operations Supervisor, captured a Snowy Owl at the airport. The Snowy Owl was transferred to The Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center where they will examine the owl to be sure it is healthy before it is released in a new location where it will hopefully stay out of harm's way. Thank you to everyone for their efforts to make this happen. This joint effort to "trap and relocate" snowy owls will continue throughout the winter." -Winnebago Audubon Society

Fox VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two snowy owls have been rescued from Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh since a new protocol went into effect Monday.

Those new rules came about after wildlife workers became upset when a snowy owl was killed with a legal permit because of how close it was to the airport runway.

As Action 2 News reported last week, under the new protocol Wittman Regional Airport will still attempt to scare away snowy owls and other types of birds.

But, if that fails and there isn't a serious threat of a bird striking a plane, a volunteer trapper will be contacted, which happened this week.

"Our lead falconer received a phone call Wednesday morning," said Janet Wissink, president of Winnebago Audubon Society.

The falconer using a type of bow net was able to trap a snowy owl Thursday. Another snowy owl was rescued Friday.

We’re told the owl will join the other at the Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center in New London and will be released when ready.

"Within a couple days, he brings his weight up and he's flying in the flight and he's going to go back," said Patricia Fisher of Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center.

After being tagged, the rehab center will be releasing the birds in a different area from the airport

They don't think the owls will be back.

"I would think if we're going to take it far enough, I said, there shouldn't be any, there shouldn't be any need for it to migrate any further, because they're down, they've been down for quite some time,” Fisher said. “They pretty much have their pattern where they're going to spend the rest of the winter."

For wildlife workers involved, they say the protocol is off to an effective start.

"It seems like the new protocol is going to work. It's going to help, anyway," said Wissink.

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