I know how cool it has been to have snowy owls hanging around the Twin Cities. I have spent many hours watching the ones down here in Dakota County. Unfortunately I have also seen people going way too close to the owls and have heard of people baiting them with mice.
This is WRONG and totally UNACCEPTABLE.
I think that it is up to us to help protect these beautiful birds. If you see people too close or baiting please help out by letting them know it is not acceptable.
Let them know that even though the owl does not fly away it does not mean that their close proximity is not causing the bird undo stress. Many northern owls internalize their stress so having large crowds less then 20 feet away is extremely hard on them.
If you see someone baiting an owl let them know that is definitely unacceptable. Some people justify baiting owls with feeding song birds at feeders. Most songbirds feed at feeders when the people are not around. People baiting owls feed the bird close to them, usually to get a photo. This makes it more likely that the birds will begin to associate people with food. An owl that associates people with food may start to fly at random people. This is dangerous to both the people and the bird. Baiting also brings the owls closer to the road which increases their risk of being hit by a car.
Please be considerate of the birds and help educate others who do not know any better.
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