A Northeast Wisconsin airport has been working with local bird enthusiast groups to protect snowy owls that have been making their way on to runways.
Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport Director Tom Miller says the have had multiple incidents involving the large birds of prey.
“We’ve seen at least seven, and possibly eight, at various times at the airport,” he says. “We felt that was a large enough number that we needed to try to do something to relocate the animals so they wouldn’t get injured, struck by an aircraft or be ingested by an aircraft engine.”
The birds are removed using spring-loaded nets, which do not harm them. They are then tagged and taken a wildlife area in central Wisconsin, where they are released.
Miller says a tracking device has been placed on one of the birds, named Austin. It’s part of Project Snowstorm, which aims to better understand Snowy Owls’ winter travel patterns.
A total of five snowy owls have been successfully trapped at Austin Straubel. Of those, four having were released in other areas and one is receiving care until it is healthy enough to be released back into the wild.