Rare barn owl spotted in Kalamazoo County

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A rare owl has been spotted and confirmed in Kalamazoo County for the first time in at least 35 years.

Kalamazoo Nature Center’s new president and CEO, Nathan Smallwood, said he inadvertently flushed a barn owl from its daytime roost on the center’s grounds Thursday. KNC says the bird was spotted by several others over three days.

The elusive barn owl is characterized with a white heart-shaped face and black eyes.

The center said because of farming practices and habitat loss, the barn owl is considered endangered in several states, including Michigan. The Michigan Bird Records Committee has recorded only 13 confirmed sightings of the barn owl in the last 35 years, none of which were in Kalamazoo County.

Smallwood, who is an avid birder, said the “exciting discovery” was great way to round out his first year at KNC.

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