"It's a great thing for Vermonters to experience these majestic birds coming from the arctic and being able to see them in our state," said Chris Cole with VTrans.
Cole says a migration of Snowy Owls is the largest the state has seen. These birds may be a beautiful and a rare site, but for the state airports they can be a huge safety hazard. "These owls hunt five to six feet off the ground. Airplanes when they are coming in can't see them. If they hit them in the propeller this large bird will cause a catastrophic accident with the airplane," Cole said.
He says the owls are attracted to habitats similar to the Arctic Circle and that the flat, well maintained grassy areas at the airports are where 10 snowy owls have been spotted across the state. VTrans has contracted with the USDA to help catch and remove the owls. Cole says they have spotted owls at airports in Berlin, Newport and Burlington. Now the trick is to safely relocate the birds. "What the USDA will do is they monitor the owls, they look for their hunting habits -- the areas that they are hunting for mice -- and then they will trap them and move them to another location," Cole said.
Officials have already been able to move two owls from the Burlington airport but other airports have resorted to lethal means. At JFK in New York, multiple owls were shot and killed after five jets were struck by the birds. "Other airports have done that in the Northeast during this migration period, but we would view that only as a last resort and we are not anticipating having to do that," Cole said.
JFK is now working to trap and relocate owls. Officials in Vermont hope they can find a way to keep both sets of flyers safe in the air.
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:27 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:27:22 GMT
Town meeting day didn't bode well for dozens of school budgets across the state. Now the Burlington City Council is looking to cut costs after voters rejected school spending hikes. The council votedMore >>
Town meeting day didn't bode well for dozens of school budgets across the state. Now the Burlington City Council is looking to cut costs after voters rejected school spending hikes.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:26:45 GMT
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries. The bill passed Tuesday allows an unlimited number of qualified Vermonters to access medical marijuana -- removing theMore >>
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:26:03 GMT
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman. 43-year-old Craig Dubuque was arrested for the alleged financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Police sayMore >>
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:35 PM EDT2014-03-12 03:35:07 GMT
"You know, people say you might not need it, which is true, but this way you get a choice. I don't have to go out tomorrow," said Lorinda Henry of Milton. Henry says she hit the grocery stores TuesdayMore >>
Parts of Vermont could get up to 24 inches of snow in the coming storm. And VTrans officials are warning drivers they may not be able to keep up with the storm rolling in Wednesday.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-03-12 00:02:07 GMT
"Seems like it was just yesterday. Doesn't seem like it's been two years at all," said Glenda Reandeau of Tupper Lake. Residents of Tupper Lake still have their eyes out for Colin Gillis, a now 20-year-oldMore >>
Colin Gillis of Tupper Lake, N.Y., disappeared two years ago. And authorities are still searching for him. They say the investigation now focuses on tips from the public and from those who were the last to see Gillis.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-03-11 22:17:43 GMT
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser. Authorities say Officer Adam Lucia was one of two officers responding to an aggravated assault call Monday at TopsMore >>
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser.More >>