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TODAY   |  December 10, 2013

Petition filed to end shooting of snowy owls

Preservationists filed the petition after reports say that the Port Authority that oversees John F. Kennedy Airport in New York had shot a number of snowy owls over the weekend, saying the birds are a potential risk for planes in the air. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>> a story about the unusual number of snowy owls spotted here in the u.s. including at new york 's busiest airport . some people are upset about how authorities are how handling the situation. ann thompson has the story at jfk this morning. good morning to you. what is this all about?

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. there's tremendous outrage in new york and across the country in reports that they have shot snowy owls here at jfk and now the port authority is changing how they feel about the beautiful birds. it's a birder favorite landing in wide open spaces in search of food. areas that resemble the tundra of its native arctic. a bird of prey that's now preyed upon. here in new york , local news report sas the port authority that oversees jfk shot snowy als over the weekend. while neither confirming or denying any shootings in a statement monday night the port authority said it is moving immediately toward implementeding a program to trap and relocate the al which is they say have struck five planes in the new york city area in the past weeks. bird strikes can be dangerous to planes and passengers. most famously, 2009 's miracle on the hudson when a plane made an emergency landing in the river after being struck by a flock of geese. unlike geese, they're solitary and the number are fews.

>> nobody is saying there's any risk. because any bird that could strike an airplane is a potential problem but comparison to the geese it's a tiny risk.

>> they weigh 6.5 pounds. harang ge harry potter fans know them. but you don't need guns to keep them away.

>> they have long pointed wings.

>> reporter: for more than two decades, norman smith has trapped and released snowy als at boston's logan airport .

>> they do have the ability like other owls to turn their head 270 degrees.

>> reporter: since mid november he removed and relocated 21.

>> 1, 2, 3.

>> reporter: now a permit allows the port authority to control snowy owls and other birds and under the terms of that permit if there were any deaths over the weekend the port authority must report them to federal officials by today. savannah.