Nature Matters: Boreal Owls Moving Into Northland

By KBJR News 1

February 12, 2013 Updated Feb 12, 2013 at 12:23 PM CDT

French River, MN (NNCNOW.com)
Lake Superior's North Shore; nature photographer and author Michael Furtman has been intently scouting the territory for an elusive Canadian owl.
Normally rare in the Northland, Furtman has seen four recently.

"What we're seeing now is called an eruption." said Furtman.

That's when the birds move south in search of mice and voles.
They wait by roads and wait for the rodents to pop out of the snow.

"The vole goes whoa and the owl goes whoa!" said Furtman.

News of the boreal owl eruption in Minnesota has spread to bird watchers around America.
They spotted one up the shore this weekend.

"I counted 60 people watching that owl and there were license plates from all over the country." said Furtman.

"While on the prowl for the owl, the Northland's photographer ran into Illinois' Owl Lady." said Dave Anderson, reporter.

"We saw the boreal owl two days ago in this area which we were very excited about because I've never seen a boreal owl before." said Wannetta Elliott.

Wannetta Elliott of Oak Forest, Illinois is called the Owl Lady because she leads owl tours back home.
Here, she and her friend Kathie Rush were guided by Michael Furtman.
Boreal owls are most often spotted by roads low in trees and near the trunks.
Furtman says the birds are hungry and this offers people a chance to see an often hidden animal behavior.

"We see song birds feeding and ducks but the thrill of seeing a predator hunting is rare." said Furtman.

Rare enough to bring people from Minnesota and Illinois together to watch a Canadian owl.
Between Duluth and Two Harbors for Nature Matters, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.

Bird watchers are urged to be respectful of private property while searching for owls.
Some land owners aren't found of hoards of 60 people at a time trespassing for birds.