Long Winter Impacting Owl Population

By KBJR News 1

Courtesy of Wisconsin DNR

March 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 11:27 AM CDT

Madison, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- The long winter has forced owls to move south in search of food and is impacting the owl population in Wisconsin.

Three rare species of owls, including the northern hawk owl, the great gray owl and the boreal own, have been spotted in the state.

Every few years there is a crash in the population of the rodents that the owls eat and the owls are forced to move south to find food.

The owls have been spotted in Door, Ashland, Douglas and as far south as Racine and Kenosha counties.

DNR officials say that the grey owls and northern hawks hunt food over roadside ditches and more prone to being hit by cars.

The DNR is interested in learning more about where the birds are seen and are asking the public to fill out a rare bird signing form on the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology's website. The information will help track the movement of the birds and help biologists understand ways that Wisconsin be a good host to the visitors.

written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati