Jan. 08--An Arctic owl was captured and relocated last month from the airfield at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, according to airport officials.
The snowy owl was captured the night of Dec. 27 by federal wildlife officials working to prevent bird strikes at the airport. It was banded and relocated the next day.
The owls are ranging farther south than usual this winter and prefer open areas that look like tundra -- such as runways. Researchers believe a scarcity of tundra food, mainly lemmings, is driving owls south to hunt. They can cripple planes if caught in engines.
"Airports work hard to help prevent the hazards related to bird strikes," said Paul Wiedefeld, the airport's chief executive officer. "We take a number of proactive measures to make aviation safer while protecting wildlife."
North America's heaviest owl, snowy owls weigh about four pounds and have a wingspan reaching 5 feet. They rank 17th out of 66 birds that pose a hazard to planes, according to Kevin Sullivan, state director of wildlife services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Wildlife strikes cause more than $700 million in damage a year to commercial and military planes in the U.S., according to Bird Strike Committee USA, an organization of federal officials working to track and mitigate the threat.
Wildlife officials at BWI use mostly nonlethal methods to deter birds, such as minimizing standing water that attracts geese and firing cannons to scare birds by loud noise.
Copyright 2014 - The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
An animal advocacy group, Friends of Animals, filed suit Monday against several federal agencies over the recently halted practice of shooting snowy owls near the runways of John F. Kennedy...
-- Jan. 25--Wildlife biologist Jeremy Smith loves birds. He admires their "intricate design" and "awesome" variety. But when birds intrude on Smith's workplace, the 33-year-old...
Last year, there were 6,360 reported aircraft-vs.-bird incidents.
Planes hit coyotes at least three times last year at DIA. There are about 200 wildlife strikes annually.