KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - The Kennett Police Department has received several reports of owl sightings in residential areas and urges residents to call police rather than attempting to handle the situation.
Humane officer Tena Petix says in the past month she has responded to numerous calls from people who have found owls on their property. "I've been (the humane officer) five years and I've never had a call for owls," she said.
Ronney Adaway's dog was alarmed to see an owl perched on top of a car parked next door Adaway's home on North Main. The owl sighting at Adaway's home on May 1 is the most recent, according to Petix.
"My dog was out here yelling, screaming, barking. So, I come out here and I just look off to the left right here where this red car is, and lo and behold, there was a big owl just chilling right there."
Mitch and Elisha Faught found four baby owls and their mother in a hollow tree in their backyard . A Missouri Department of Conservation Game Warden put up a nesting box, but the babies did not survive.
Petix cautions that even though the animals are pleasing to look at, they can cause extensive injuries with their beaks and claws.
Owls are predators that play an important role in controlling mice, rats and rabbits, which might otherwise overrun the earth, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation web site.
The MDC suggests the following tips when an owl is spotted:
- Inform the Conservation Department or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if you know of someone who has killed or disturbed owls or who has a live or dead owl in possession.
- Retain large, hollow trees or old buildings when possible—especially if owls are nesting in them. Protect all nesting sites.
- Place nesting boxes for barn owls and screech owls.
- If you must use pesticides or mouse and rat poisons, use conservative amounts with care. Owls can control your rodent pests to a degree if you encourage them to live around you.
- Don't try to adopt baby owls. First, it is illegal for anyone without a permit to pick up a baby owl. Second, it is normal for owls to leave the nest before they can fly. Their parents feed them regularly, although they may not be around at the moment. And baby owls are adept at defending themselves from danger. Captive owls often become sick and die. Even those few that are reared are likely to be social misfits that can never return to their proper place in the wild.
Click here for more information about owls on the MDC web site.