[Tweeters] Re: Proposed Barred Owl Kill-Off

Scott Downes downess at charter.net
Sat Jul 27 19:37:41 PDT 2013

Like Dennis, I had wanted to stay out of this topic as opinions are diverse and no single series of posts are likely to change minds. However, I have seen a couple of posts that as a wildlife biologist, feel the need to comment on. One post said "let the birds settle it out for themselves" and "humans are interfering with nature again". Many bird species movements (and barred owl is not an exception here) are tied to actions that humans have made in the past through management. Several theories on expansion of barred owl to the PNW exist. Among those are growth of trees across the Great Plains, post settlement. If any of these theories had a role in the spread of barred owl to the PNW, then human actions played a role in causing this mess (not to mention the role that we have also played in habitat modification in the PNW). It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where we could be passive observers and watch nature take course. Some of the early naturalists possibly had opportunities to be this lucky. Unfortunately in areas that we live in today, humans have had an influence on just about everything and to "let nature take its course" is to break it and then not work to fix it. Sometimes we aren't very good at fixing it, but in my opinion to not try to find solutions for a fix/management is irresponsible wildlife management. There is much value in discussing which path of management is best, but the discussion needs to happen. This experiment is one tool in that discussion, not the only one.

Scott Downes
downess at charter.net
Yakima WA

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