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Wed, Dec 06, 2017

Protected Snowy Owl Legally Shot At Wittman Regional Airport

Airport Has A Permit To Use Lethal Methods To Remove The Birds

A protected snowy owl was shot ... legally ... last Tuesday at Wittman Regional Airport.

The Northwestern newspaper reports that the bird was sitting near the runway. It had been seen by pilot Doug Cooper and his copilot who were taxiing off the active and was the owl land on a taxiway sign. They thought it was interesting, and mentioned it to the control tower.

They were putting the airplane back in its hangar when they heard the gunshot that killed the bird.

While the snowy owl is a species protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. Airport Director Peter Moll told the paper that the airport has a permit that allows them to take such steps to remove such birds as a measure to prevent bird strikes by airplanes. The airport is allowed to use lethal steps when necessary, but he said it is a rare occurrence.

In this case. Moll said a maintenance crew was unable to get the bird off its perch on the taxiway sign, and decided not to trap it because of the time it would take and the proximity to the runway. "It was done in the interest of safety," he said. "We did try to scare it away from the runway but the bird didn’t respond, and we have to use measures we think are necessary for the safety of pilots and the airport.”

(Public domain image from file)

FMI: www.wittmanairport.com

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