10 February 2012

Disposition of Nebraska Snowy Owl Carcasses

Several carcasses of the Snowy Owl that have died during their winter sojourn in Nebraska will be mounted or made into study skins.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has about fourteen carcasses, according to Joel Jorgensen, the nongame bird biologist. Those which will not be mounted for placement in agency offices — perhaps 1-2 owls — will be turned over to the University of Nebraska State Museum.

UNSM has received ten carcasses thus far from throughout the state, said Tom Labedz, collections manager. "These specimens are a receipt to prove where the owls were and when."

These specimens can be studied later by researchers, being useful for isotope studies, or evaluation of age and sex of the owls, he said, adding that they can also help provide a "more thorough understanding of the workings of our natural environment."

Labedz is working to get the best possible documentation concerning where and when the dead bird was found. This information will be integrated into the bird collection database, which will eventually be available online.

Those carcasses not kept at this museum, will go to a bird specimen collection in Kansas, he said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has transferred four live snowy owls to Raptor Recovery Nebraska, said Mike George, supervisor of the Ecological Services office in Grand Island.

Any dead specimens are turned over to conservation officers of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The federal agency also hopes to have one of the owls mounted and kept in their office so it can be used for educational purposes.