Wildlife rehabilitators think someone shot a barn owl in Perry County, and they want answers.
According to a Facebook post, conservationists checked the rare bird in to the Dwight R Chamberlain Raptor Center last week.
Amy Kearns is an assistant non-game bird biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. She says it’s common that people shoot state endangered barn owls, but the birds aren’t threats to their farms.
“They can help out with all the voles which cause crop damage and all the mice which people don’t often like to be overrun with mice,” Kearns says.
Barn owls are the rarest nesting owls in the state.
Kearns says the DNR usually estimates there to be around 50 pairs of barn owls in the state, but this past year has been exceptional.
She says they found 42 nests in 2017.
“Something is happening where they’re doing better,” she says. “It might be that there are more nest boxes out for them or possibly there was just a lot of food available for them during the last couple years.”
Although the barn owls are doing better than in recent years, Kearns says they’re still rare and it’s illegal to shoot them. She says it most likely will take a long time before the Perry County barn owl can be released back into the wild, if at all.