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Traps used to catch snowy owls at Grand Rapids airport after staff shot 9 in recent months

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Aaron Bowden of the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service holds a young female Snowy Owl caught at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Jan. 21 2014. Traps are being used to catch snowy owls alive at Gerald R. Ford International Airport after staff members shot nine in the last two months to ensure aircraft safety. Snowy owls are out in force in Michigan and other parts of the Midwest this winter, thanks to a population boom in their Arctic breeding lands. Birdwatchers have reported spotting them more frequently than usual in several places around Michigan. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Andrew Kuhn ) ALL LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL TV INTERNET OUT

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Aaron Bowden of the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service holds a young female Snowy Owl caught at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Jan. 21 2014. Traps are being used to catch snowy owls alive at Gerald R. Ford International Airport after staff members shot nine in the last two months to ensure aircraft safety. Snowy owls are out in force in Michigan and other parts of the Midwest this winter, thanks to a population boom in their Arctic breeding lands. Birdwatchers have reported spotting them more frequently than usual in several places around Michigan. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Andrew Kuhn ) ALL LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL TV INTERNET OUT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Traps are being used to catch snowy owls alive at Gerald R. Ford International Airport after staff members shot nine in the last two months to ensure aircraft safety.

Snowy owls are out in force in Michigan and other parts of the Midwest this winter, thanks to a population boom in their Arctic breeding lands. Birdwatchers have reported spotting them more frequently than usual in several places around Michigan.

Airport spokeswoman Tara Hernandez tells The Grand Rapids Press (http://bit.ly/1c0Yh4G ) the influx of snowy owls into the area is unprecedented and airport staff cannot compromise flight safety. The owls are known to fly low and could collide with an aircraft.

The airport has a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit to control snowy owls if they are deemed a safety hazard.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids

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