Look for snowy owls migrating to Indiana

Look for snowy owls flying through Mishawaka // WSBT 22 Photo

A winter storm is not the only thing migrating across our area.

Snowy owls are being spotted along Lake Michigan. Even right in our area in Mishawaka.

This happens every four to five years.

Our chances of seeing them in our area are better if they can find a food source here and also if there are a lot of snowy owls born in the spring.

WSBT 22 spoke to some wildlife experts about this migration pattern.

With the snow falling across our area, it may be hard to spot rare visitors that are coming to Indiana. But if you look hard enough, you can spot one of these beautiful snowy owls.

One family captured a photo of a snowy owl sitting on top of the Mishawaka Walmart.

Brad Bumgardner, executive director of the Indiana Audubon Society, says these birds are in Indiana for food.

"If you are up in the Arctic area during the summertime, they are eating lemmings. And lemmings are kind of big furry sausages. They taste great for snowy owls. They are a little bit bigger than mice and they provide the staple food that are up around their breeding areas," said Bumgardner.

Bumgardner says December is the best time to see these unique owls. They can even be spotted throughout the day.

"You're not going to see a polar bear go down the street. But this is a piece of the Arctic that you can see in your own back yard. And it's a big bird. It's something that draws people to it," said Bumgardner.

Stephanie Kadletz, director of the Humane Indiana Wildlife in Valparaiso, said like other birds, snowy owls can get hurt when flying around busy highways and roads.

The center currently has one snowy owl that was rescued after being hit by a semi-truck. Kadletz said the bird had no physical injuries from being hit, but needed a few weeks to rest.

"Unfortunately the bird was very emaciated so the bird was very thin, dehydrated. A lot of that is probably from migration as well as trying to find food sources when they got here," said Kadletz.

Kadletz says this is the first snowy owl she's seen.

"It is exciting but unfortunately in this situation to come into rehab, but we are glad that we were able to help this bird and get it back out to the wild," said Kadletz.

If you come across a snowy owl, make sure to keep your distance. Don't feed them any food.

If you see an injured snowy owl, then you can contact the Humane Indiana Wildlife or DNR. You can also track the sightings of these birds while they are here for the winter.

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