Snowy owl sightings on the increase in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Wisconsin wildlife officials say it should be a good winter for sighting snowy owls.

The Journal Sentinel reports that at least 69 individual snowy owls had been spotted statewide as of Nov. 20. That compares to three found in the state at this time last year and 82 for the winter of 2015-16.

Snowy owls are considered among the most charismatic wildlife species in the world. The birds are the heaviest owl in North America, ranging from 3 to 6 pounds. They stand 2 feet tall and have 5-foot wingspans. The birds have white plumage, often with black barring, and yellow eyes.

Experts are urging photographers, wildlife viewers and others to watch the owls from a distance, preferably from vehicles with engines turned off, to avoid stressing the animals.

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