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This winter could be an ideal time to spot a rare snowy owl in central Illinois

A snowy owl recently spotted in Central Illinois.
Mike Budd/USFWS
A snowy owl recently spotted in Central Illinois.

Snowy owls are arctic animals that sometimes make their way down into Canada and the northern states.

But a few sightings of these birds also have been reported in Illinois over the last few weeks.

"Some come down as far as central Illinois. Most of them are up in northern Illinois. Quite a few of them have been seen up on the lakefront in Chicago," said Peoria Audubon Society member Pete Fenner

Fenner said while these sightings are rare, they can be spotted in Illinois. Fenner gives some advice on where these animals are most likely to be found.

"You would look in rural areas generally. Farm fields, very rural places. You'd want to drive slowly, looking for round, white objects in fields. Certainly, that's difficult if there's snow on the ground. But occasionally, it's a snowy owl. But again, that's very rare," he said.

Fenner said that individuals should not approach the owls, as they can be dangerous, but to admire from a distance.

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Olivia Streeter is an intern at WCBU. The Illinois State University student joined WCBU in 2020.