Readers Photos: Northern hawk owl

/Erin Pugh photo

/Erin Pugh photo,

Western Kenosha County based photographer Erin Pugh shared this photo of a northern hawk owl that she took recently in an undisclosed Kenosha County location.

This is way out of the owl’s normal range, Pugh said. Normally these birds are seen much farther north, but they are being sighted out of that area more often, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

” These owls are here because of a lack of food in the north and some of them are stressed from their long flights, unfamiliar surroundings, and a late winter,” says Andy Paulios, DNR wildlife biologist.

The DNR offers these tips for viewing these interesting visitors:

Great gray, northern hawk, and boreal owls have been sighted across the state in recent months, offering some great opportunities to view these unique birds. To enjoy these opportunities but avoid adding to the owls’ stress, state bird experts recommend that birders, photographers, and other observers follow a few simple guidelines.  â€We share people’s excitement about the chance to see these birds but encourage people to make sure to give the birds a reasonable space and to never attempt to pet or hold them.” Paulios says that “reasonable space” can differ in each situation, but birds that become alert or agitated due to your presence are likely being disturbed. Here are guidelines for safe viewing: Avoid approaching closer than 20-30 feet at a minimum. For most owls an observation distance of at least 50 feet is recommended. Never, under any circumstance, should you attempt to pet or hold a bird. If you are concerned the bird may be ill or injured, contact a local rehabilitator for professional assistance. A directory is available using the keyword “rehab” at Prevent excessive noise. To reduce potential impacts on roosting and hunting owls, talk softly, turn off running vehicles, and minimize movements as possible. Avoid excessive use of flash photography, which can disrupt an owl’s activity patterns. Be a good neighbor. Obey local rules and ordinances on parking and trespass. Do not block access to public roadways and access points. Be courteous to the local community so that birders and wildlife watchers are welcome the next time a rare bird shows up. If you find a dead owl place it in a sealed bag in your freezer and contact your local DNR office for guidance. If any issues, contact police or DNR hotline (1-800-847-9367)


One Comment

  1. Nothing new to see here. says:

    We saw one flying west of 94. Also heard them in the night. Beautiful creatures.

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