Two snowy owls were captured this week near Martin State Airport in eastern Baltimore County, environmental officials said on Friday.
A female snowy owl was captured Thursday evening just after sunset; a male snowy owl was captured Friday morning. This is not the first sighting of one of the majestic birds. In late December, a snowy owl was captured and relocated from BWI Marshall airport.
The owls were examined by employees with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and personnel from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The birds, which have been banded, will be relocated “well away” from the airport. The female owl will be outfitted with a transmitter to track her movements before she is released — part of Project SNOWstorm. Project SNOWstorm led by a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is an unprecedented, nationwide research effort that is gathering data on the largest appearance of snowy owls in decades.
There have been numerous sightings of the birds in the D.C. region, in part because of there has been a bumper crop of young owls. As The Post’s Darryl Fears reported, the birds have been feasting on an unusually robust crop of lemmings. The birds have been spotted from New England to New York to downtown Washington to Jacksonville, Fla.
Owl spotting has generated much excitement from members of the public who rarely see them so close-up. But for airport officials, the birds pose serious risks to air travel. According to data from the Federal Aviation Administration, snowy owls are among the bird species most likely to cause damage when struck by aircraft. The birds’ size, wingspan and fact that they tend to be low-flying pose a hazard to aircraft.