ALBERTA

Tiny owls could inadvertently be harmed by attention from wildlife lovers

01/19/2015 11:45 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - The Alberta birding community is all a-flutter over the appearance of two tiny owls in Calgary’s Fish Creek Provincial Park.

But the attention is raising concerns the birds could be loved to death.

Two northern pygmy owls who have take up winter residence on the west side of the park are drawing dozens with cameras and binoculars from as far away as Edmonton and Lethbridge.

Colin Weir, manager of the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale, says too much attention could make the tiny, plump birds feel harassed.

He says that could disrupt their feeding habits and the availability of food and the birds could end up starving to death or flying elsewhere and getting injured.

The two owls in Fish Creek Provincial Park appear to be hunting well, despite being surrounded by wildlife paparazzi.

Northern pygmy owls, which are roughly the size of a soda can, are not threatened but are classified as a “sensitive” species by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

(CHQR)

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