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updated: 3/28/2013 9:42 AM

Long Wisconsin winter takes toll on rare owls

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  • Boreal Owl

      Boreal Owl

  • Great Gray Owl

      Great Gray Owl

  • Northern Hawk Owl

      Northern Hawk Owl

 
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- Scientists say the long winter hasn't been easy on owls in Wisconsin, including three rare species that have migrated from the boreal forest north of the U.S. border.

The state Department of Natural Resources says every few years the small rodent population crashes and the owls move south in search of food. So, Wisconsin has become a temporary home for three species not normally seen here -- the northern hawk owl, the great gray owl and the boreal owl. The DNR says they've been spotted in Door, Ashland and Douglas counties and as far south as Racine and Kenosha counties.

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DNR research scientist Ryan Brady says the long winter and unfamiliar landscape of highways and other risk factors have taken a toll on the rare visitors.

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