Letters to the Editor

Owl observation

January 18, 2012


To the editor:

The widespread interest in the snowy owls visiting Kansas this winter is wonderful. However, reports from Clinton Lake make it clear that some uninformed observers are endangering these beautiful, exotic owls by approaching the owls much too closely to watch them and take pictures. Admittedly a thrilling personal experience, but what is the effect on the bird?

Remember that these birds left their northern home because of insufficient food. Whether this is due to a crash in the lemming population or to high populations of owls because last year was an exceptionally good breeding year for them is academic. Either scenario results in starving birds flying south hundreds of miles, often arriving here exhausted and emaciated. Feathers hide the emaciation from field observers, but rehabilitators see it when trying to save an injured owl. Sometimes a snowy doesn’t fly when approached because it is too weak; the human approach causes yet more exhausting stress.  

Responsible birders have a strong code of ethics which all wildlife watchers should follow. Two of the most applicable principles: 1. Promote the welfare of birds and their environment by exercising restraint and caution during observation or photography; 2. Practice common courtesy in contacts with other people.  

Above all, we want these owls to survive the winter and wing back north in spring. Please, no more thoughtless harassment of our snowy sojourners — give them space. To safely see raptors up close, come to Kaw Valley Eagles Day at Free State High School on Jan. 21.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

These snowy owls may not survive so far away from the Artic according to KMBC news last night.

Ragingbear 6 years, 4 months ago

Well there is one important fact that most people are missing. That is that the Bird is the Word.

Bah bah bird bird bird, bird is the word. Don't you know about the bird? Everybody knows that the bird is the word!

Alex Parker 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure what Occupy Wall Street has to do with snowy owls. Let's keep it on topic.

somedude20 6 years, 4 months ago

  1. Promote the welfare of birds and their environment by exercising restraint and caution during observation or photography;
  2. Practice common courtesy in contacts with other people.
  3. Make sure the owl has reached an internal temp of 160 degrees before eating.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy

classclown 6 years, 4 months ago

Ms. Iversen needs to have a chat with that idiot Mark Robbins at K U and take him to task. He was the one that told everyone to run up to any owl they see and take pictures of it.

Maybe next time there is an incident of an influx of animals that are not from around here being around, LJW will interview an expert instead of talking to someone from K U.

Synjyn Smythe 6 years, 4 months ago

Drove past the spillway on the access road that goes by Eagle Bend yesterday. On the ground, just on the spillway side of the guardrail was Snowy. Slowed down and got a great look at it. They're beautiful!! Can't believe that a car driving by 10' away wouldn't cause it to fly away. Thus, be careful when you're out there!!

It would seem that the flooding north likely wiped out their diet of lemmings. Here, there are enough field mouse to keep them, the other owls and the hawks full!!

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 4 months ago

What sort of cooking method is best for owls? I tried pan roasting but I wasn't happy.

Tony Kisner 6 years, 4 months ago

Such language "thoughtless" maybe lacking awareness? Idiot? Ouch.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

Small business personal owls are to travel on multiple routes for various purposes that may vary and they use alternative vehicle and courtesy owls. (from a source)

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