More snowy owls than usual in Michigan this year

Joe Rogers shows off a snowy owl that he's working to rehabilitate at the Wildlife Recovery Association.

GREENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Every winter, snowy owls make the trip from the arctic circle to Michigan.

Experts say more owls than usual made the trip this year.

Joe Rogers and his wife Barb Rogers operate the Wildlife Recovery Association in Greendale Township near Shepherd, and they know a lot about snowy owls.

"They do fly and hunt in the day time, whereas most of the owls would be hiding at that time of the day. So you don't usually see them, but people are seeing snowy owls. And they are beautiful, it's great to get to see them," said Barb Rogers.

Right now they care for five snowy owls at their recovery center.

All five owls were brought here for rehabilitation after they got hurt.

"They were having trouble getting enough to eat, so they ended up in places like dairy barns, chicken pens, and even a goose pen,” said Rogers.

Sometimes when an owl gets severely hurt, it can't fly well.

If it can't be rehabilitated, it won't get released back to the wild.

"If they're on the ground, they can't collect food effectively, they can't compete against foxes and cats and all the other things for rodents,” explained Joe Rogers.

One owl at the recovery association has spent 27 years in captivity, which makes it one of the oldest snowy owls in the world.

The Rogers warn it’s important to give the owls plenty of space, so they aren’t disturbed while they hunt for food.

"If you're approaching them and causing them to fly, they're going to lose energy and it's just, it's hard on them because they're already in trouble because they've come all that way down from the arctic, they're needing food, they need time to hunt and rest,” explained Barb Rogers.

Two other owls at the recovery association are nearly back to full health.

The Rogers plan to release them in a few weeks, just in time for their return trip to the Arctic.

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