www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Of dragonflies, new bad habits -9/12/2014, 9:51 AM

A real rarity -9/5/2014, 9:56 AM

Peak camping season ends with a bang -9/5/2014, 9:46 AM

Mourning the loss of the last passenger pigeon -- too many already -9/5/2014, 9:46 AM

Bird a top choice for hunters -8/29/2014, 9:22 AM

Doves all around -8/29/2014, 9:22 AM

FWS details ESA listing for bat -8/22/2014, 12:15 PM

Tales from the land of Don't -8/8/2014, 6:07 PM

'Kansas Fishes' hot off the press -8/8/2014, 6:07 PM

Pheasant tour off target -8/1/2014, 8:17 AM

Pheasant harvest falls again -7/24/2014, 11:02 AM

Biologist calls idea 'ludicrous' -7/18/2014, 2:13 PM

Appeals court exonerates Texas water board -7/11/2014, 12:01 PM

Survey finds more prairie chickens -7/11/2014, 11:52 AM

Hunting outlook up; duck numbers sharply higher -7/11/2014, 11:52 AM

New round of federal lawsuits at loggerheads with one another -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

KDWP&T OKs regional ban on prairie chicken hunting -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

KNRC not ready to give up -6/20/2014, 11:34 AM

Serenading a historic landmark -5/30/2014, 11:03 AM

KNRC set to ask for more money -5/30/2014, 11:03 AM

Kansas seceding on wildlife -5/9/2014, 8:31 AM

Kansas courts back federal endangered species law -5/9/2014, 8:30 AM

Review nearing completion -4/25/2014, 11:07 AM

Bat species should be studied, biologist says -4/25/2014, 11:07 AM

Bats an economic benefit for farmers -4/24/2014, 11:08 AM

Walleye smaller, still productive -4/18/2014, 11:00 AM

In the baking aisle, shoppers agree environment is critical -4/18/2014, 11:00 AM

Lawsuits lining up on listing -4/11/2014, 11:00 AM

Webster too low for irrigation -4/10/2014, 11:00 AM

-4/4/2014, 4:55 PM

-4/4/2014, 4:55 PM

FWS lists prairie chicken as threatened -3/28/2014, 9:47 AM

Whooping cranes reach Kansas; winter numbers up slightly -3/28/2014, 8:35 AM

Ferret numbers still tumbling -3/28/2014, 8:35 AM

Oklahoma, oil group suing FWS -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Divining rod for discs -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Despite valiant effort, no success in finding snowy owl -3/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Capturing the moment -3/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Kansas: Not so flat after all -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Rod, reel a good fit -2/28/2014, 7:53 AM

Spring just a snowstorm or so away -2/28/2014, 7:53 AM

At 90: Best deer ever -2/21/2014, 10:33 AM

Tests confirm 5 new CWD cases -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

Senate votes to invoke 'sovereignty' over state's prairie chickens -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

KNRC to deliver report, asking for more money from member counties -2/7/2014, 10:50 AM

Group flunks states, federal agencies dealing with prairie dogs -2/7/2014, 12:12 PM

Brownback ready to sue feds -2/7/2014, 10:50 AM

Big oil companies bankrolling conservation plan -2/6/2014, 10:50 AM

Audubon blasts 'sovereign' bill -1/31/2014, 9:49 AM

Feds again asking for listing comments -1/31/2014, 9:48 AM

Utilities enrolling in program -1/31/2014, 9:48 AM

Listing controversy continues -1/17/2014, 10:30 AM

Friends on the water -12/20/2013, 9:54 AM

Federal wildlife agency lays out rules for oil, gas protection -12/20/2013, 9:54 AM

A beckoning -12/13/2013, 9:08 AM

Listing more likely as FWS adds rules -12/13/2013, 8:59 AM

It's happening right before our eyes! -11/29/2013, 10:28 AM

Governor's Ringneck Classic draws a crowd -11/22/2013, 9:29 AM

Drought saps pheasant numbers -11/8/2013, 6:50 PM

Sporting clays sure to be hot at hunt -11/8/2013, 6:50 PM

Counties set to talk chickens -11/1/2013, 12:08 PM

Dangerous delight -10/18/2013, 9:44 AM

Coping with (more) bad habits -10/11/2013, 12:01 PM

Celebrating fossil discoveries -10/11/2013, 11:51 AM

Making a wish come true -9/27/2013, 11:39 AM

Prairie chicken numbers tumble -9/27/2013, 11:39 AM

Counties meet FWS, present plans -9/20/2013, 12:25 PM

Oakley man in pursuit of grouse -9/13/2013, 11:23 AM

Counties hoping to halt listing -9/6/2013, 11:54 AM

Going outdoors -8/23/2013, 10:15 AM

Wetlands no longer bone dry -8/16/2013, 11:46 AM

Duck numbers remain strong -7/26/2013, 11:48 AM

Updated survey, conservation plan upcoming -7/26/2013, 11:39 AM

Pheasant outlook not so bright -7/19/2013, 11:48 AM

High heat, strong winds finally show a beneficial side -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

FWS delay reopens comment period -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

Study refutes wind tower effect on greater prairie chickens -7/12/2013, 12:05 PM

Flowering cacti drought's treat -6/21/2013, 11:58 AM

Building a bridge over a key spring -6/14/2013, 9:57 AM

Country matters: Lemon painted-cup taking over -6/7/2013, 8:52 AM

Wind dampens great camping -5/31/2013, 12:22 PM

Wildlife benefits can boost CRP offers -5/24/2013, 11:42 AM

Camping season begins -5/24/2013, 11:42 AM

Field day focuses on wildlife needs -5/17/2013, 11:52 AM

FWS making big changes for LEPC rule -5/10/2013, 2:14 PM

Pheasants Forever biologists planning workshops on CRP enrollment -5/10/2013, 2:14 PM

Conservation plan nearly complete -5/3/2013, 10:31 AM

Final prairie chicken meeting upcoming -4/26/2013, 8:31 AM

Wildlife highlights Trego forestry day -4/26/2013, 8:31 AM

NRCS recognizes area volunteers -4/26/2013, 8:30 AM

Learning to cope -4/19/2013, 9:30 AM

Legislature weighing in on ferrets -2/15/2013, 9:50 AM

New meetings set on chickens -2/15/2013, 9:50 AM

Wildlife watching tops outdoors -9/28/2012, 11:38 AM

Drought dries up waterfowl area -9/14/2012, 11:59 AM

Holiday blast expected despite lower water -8/24/2012, 10:05 AM

Fate of lesser prairie chickens in air -8/17/2012, 1:46 PM

What to do when the doves fly away -- too early -8/17/2012, 11:40 AM

Logan County seeking court review -8/10/2012, 12:53 PM

Youth outdoor festival fast approaching -8/10/2012, 12:52 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Snowy owls face treacherous winter trek

Published on -2/24/2012, 12:02 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Many of the snowy owls that migrated south to Kansas likely won't make it back home to the arctic tundra.

"These guys have to run a gauntlet to get back to where they came from," said Mark Robbins, the ornithology collections manager for the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

He's the person who has been receiving most of the Kansas and Missouri snowy owls that have already died this winter.

Even those falling victim to cars, trucks, electrocution and even trains have been underweight, in some instances markedly so.

So far, Kansas has had a minimum of 131 confirmed sightings this year, he said. Missouri has had about 60.

Robbins, however, has already received the bodies of 20 owls from Kansas and Missouri that died for one reason or another.

"That's the one that were found," he said.

While it's uncommon for snowy owls to venture as far south as Kansas, it's not unheard of. The last time, however, was the invasion of 1974-75, a time, Robbins said, when no one had cellphones and the Internet didn't exist.

But as this year's invasion grew, he and others put out the word to see how it might compare to nearly 40 years ago.

"I think they may be comparable," he said of the 81 owls that were reported from 1974-75. "This is certainly on the same magnitude."

The migration this year is believed to be a result of a burgeoning population of snowy owls and a collapse in the lemming population, a key part of the owls' diet.

In Kansas, the birds have feasted on the meadow vole, similar to lemmings. But they've also eaten other birds.

But as the birds headed south, the flight has taken its toll.

Birds that should normally weigh 1,800 grams are now weighing 900 grams, Robbins said.

Even birds appearing to be healthy are weighing less than they should, as the struggle to survive ultimately starts robbing the animal of its health -- losing muscle and moisture just to live.

The same is being seen in Nebraska where the number of birds is even higher.

He's not optimistic about the birds surviving the calamitous trip back home.

"It isn't good," he said of the birds' chances. "Even if they were in shape ... They've got to get all the way back north."

He's confident some of them will survive the trip.

Robbins isn't ready to put a number on the percentage to survive, but he fears the stress will just be too much for most of the birds.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos