[Tweeters] Re: Barred Owl Kill-off (proposed plan)

Nigel Ball nigelj.ball at gmail.com
Sun Jul 28 22:00:31 PDT 2013

This explanation is great!
Noting the confusion felt on Tweeters, and overhearing discussion in a
locals bar in Port Angeles (awkward), I wish (idealistically, I suppose)
that the process could include education for all levels and many media
before the decisions were announced.
Thanks again,
Nigel Ball
Nigelj.ball at gmail.com
On Jul 28, 2013 8:12 AM, <rrpearson at centurytel.net> wrote:

> These are good questions and one should always know as many facts as

> possible. There is a wealth of data and information for Spotted Owls,

> possibly more than for any other species, but it is not easy to wade

> through. I’ll try to provide information that arrives from my experience

> that may help inform opinion. I have been tracking Spotted Owls on the

> Cowlitz Valley Ranger District, Gifford Pinchot NF since 1991, and was one

> of the first anywhere to begin tracking and looking specifically for Barred

> Owls to see what their impact might be on Spotted Owls.


> The Spotted Owl was listed as a threatened species in large part because

> of the *projected* continued logging of old-growth forest. The largest

> reservoir of Spotted Owl sites was on Forest Service land, and the

> management intent was to treat most of the forest there similarly to

> private land: cut down all the big trees and replace them with ‘young,

> vigorous growth’ – tree plantations. The FS land reserved from logging was

> mostly high elevation and not very useful in retaining Spotted Owls or any

> other of the many species dependent on old-growth forest. So if the intent

> was to convert most old-growth forest to tree plantations, and Spotted Owls

> depended on old-growth forest, it was easy to see what the outcome would be.


> The impact of logging habitat could most clearly be seen in a comparison

> of Federal land to private land. In the 1990s, SW Washington west of I-5,

> which had mostly been logged, had only a handful of active Spotted Owl

> sites. My area directly west still had approximately 150 active Spotted Owl

> sites. The land area was approximately equal. Clearly, logging old forest

> had a negative impact on Spotted Owls.


> When the NW Forest Plan went into effect in 1994, Spotted Owls in my area

> were still doing very well. Logging had reduced habitat nearly everywhere,

> but in most places not to the point where Spotted Owls could not function.

> 1992 was a banner year for Spotted Owls in that most sites reproduced that

> year, and nearly every historical site had Spotted Owls present. 1994 was

> nearly as good. Detections of Barred Owls were increasing but without any

> observable effect on Spotted Owl sites. In those years, judging from

> available habitat and what had been logged, Spotted Owl site numbers were

> pretty close to what the number would have been without any logging.

> Continued logging of habitat would have begun to seriously reduce numbers,

> but it had stopped in time to adequately support most of the Spotted Owl

> sites that remained if there was no further logging of habitat.


> Barred owls were first found in my area in 1978, the same year the first

> Spotted Owl surveys were conducted. There were 2 male Barred Owls found,

> both at low elevation in a marshy area south of Randle. Through the 1980s

> and 1990s Barred Owl numbers slowly increased and didn’t have any

> observable effect on Spotted Owls. The 2000s were different.


> Through the 2000s Barred Owl numbers began to steadily increase yearly

> while Spotted Owl numbers decreased simultaneously. Graphing the number of

> sites found active for both species through these years results in nearly

> perfectly mirrored lines of increase for Barred Owls and decrease for

> Spotted Owls. During this time no additional habitat was logged, indicating

> the decrease in Spotted Owl numbers was due to Barred Owl presence (but

> some qualification later). There may have been some lag effect to habitat

> reduction, in that some Spotted Owl sites may have eventually gone inactive

> because of reduced habitat, but if there was, that was overwhelmed by the

> evidence of simultaneous and mirrored Barred Owl increase and Spotted Owl

> decrease.


> Additionally, as the 2000s progressed, I increasingly began to find Barred

> Owls where I used to find Spotted Owls. By 2005, the number of active

> Barred Owl sites equaled the number of historical Spotted Owl sites. In

> 2006, Barred Owl sites surpassed Spotted Owl sites. Currently in 2013,

> there are 254 active Barred Owl sites compared to 159 historical Spotted

> Owl sites. Over the last 5 years, I have found Spotted Owls at only 79

> sites, or just over half of the historical sites still active. My estimate,

> in the 30 years from the high-water year of 1992 to present, is that the

> active Spotted Owl sites have decreased to at most 40% of what there was in

> 1992, with little additional loss of habitat but a great increase in Barred

> Owls.


> Maybe the best way to asses the impact of Barred Owls is to compare

> National Parks, where there has been no habitat reduction, to other areas

> that have had logging. The National Parks have seen a dramatic increase in

> Barred Owls similar to all other areas, and have also seen Spotted Owl

> numbers decline rapidly during this time. While there may be other reasons

> for Spotted Owl decline in the NPs, and it’s possible that Spotted Owls

> declining for other reasons have made it easier for Barred Owls to

> establish themselves, the relationship of simultaneous Barred Owl increase

> and Spotted Owl decrease remains and is similar to other areas. Without any

> habitat loss, Spotted Owls still have declined where Barred Owls have

> increased.


> However, there is one important difference. In SW Washington, where

> logging of habitat has continued, the Spotted Owl is now considered to be

> extinct. For both Mt. Rainer and Olympic NPs, Spotted Owls are still

> active, although at reduced numbers, while the areas adjacent to the parks

> that have had habitat heavily logged have seen the Spotted Owls reduced to

> nearly nothing.


> To me, there appears to be a connection between the amount of available

> habitat, the number of Barred Owls, and the number of Spotted Owl sites

> that remain active. Barred Owls can withstand, and may even benefit from,

> logging. The area in SW Washington where Spotted Owls are now considered

> extinct and has been nearly all logged in the past also has the highest

> concentration of Barred Owls of any place I’m familiar with. The logging

> that was detrimental to Spotted Owls has appeared to be beneficial to

> Barred Owls. The qualification I mentioned above is that while Barred Owls

> have a negative impact on Spotted Owls, the impact is greater where there

> has also been logging in the past, so that the combination of logging and

> Barred Owls has more of an impact than either by itself. That, I think, is

> the key.


> I don’t have answers, and it may be that even in the unlogged areas

> Spotted Owls will eventually be replaced and are doomed in the Pacific NW

> no matter what we do. But it is also pretty complex, and comparing to other

> species or efforts at recovery is not perfectly predictive. No one really

> knows what will happen if we do this or that, or nothing.


> I like Barred Owls. I have spent the last 6 years recording their

> vocalizations as a research project. I can take someone to any of over 400

> pairs I am familiar with. At the same time Spotted Owls are amazing birds,

> and I hope that anyone who has not had the pleasure of seeing them up close

> in their natural habitat will get the opportunity to do so. They are worth

> the effort to retain if there is anything we can do to help them. I hope

> what I’ve written here will help inform some opinions in a difficult matter.


> Bob Pearson

> Packwood, WA

> rrpearson at centurytel.net


> Message: 26

> Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2013 11:47:06 -0700

> From: Ronda Stark <rondastark18 at gmail.com>

> Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Re: Barred Owl Kill-off (proposed plan)

> To: Barbara Deihl <barbdeihl at comcast.net>

> Cc: Tweeters at u.washington.edu

> Message-ID:

> <CAFNywYXeMU15geeghEftZGP5-5zqTDSruvvgo3DmjzNkMKha_w at mail.gmail.com>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"


> Its ok to have dialogue as long as we all know the facts. What percentage

> of spotted owl decline is directly attributed to presence of barred owl?

> Is this percentage derived from sound science or just a wild guess? What

> percentage of decline is due to habitat loss? Wasn't spotted owl endangered

> before barred owl showed up on the scene?


> Eradication, or partial eradication, of one specie, in preference of

> another specie, is not something that has been sanctioned in the past. Are

> we setting new and possibly dangerous precedent?


> Ronda



> On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 2:36 PM, Barbara Deihl <

> barbdeihl at comcast.net>wrote:


> > Oh, it'll probably happen - always some human fallibility present in

> every

> > endeavor.

> >

> > Barb

> >

> > On Jul 26, 2013, at 1:39 PM, ck park wrote:

> >

> > one can hope a spotty won't accidentally be shot or otherwise killed

> > during such a cull... oh, the irony...

> >

> > 00 caren

> > http://www.ParkGallery.org

> > george davis creek, north fork

> >

> >

> > On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM, Barbara Deihl <

> barbdeihl at comcast.net>wrote:

> >

> >> We can't have it all - unlimited human population, unlimited human

> >> consumption of habitat and proliferation of the entire diversity of

> >> wildlife. We can only try to temper our insatiable need to have and

> >> control every aspect of and every speck of life and resources on this

> >> planet, and do this through continued experimentation, analysis of the

> >> results and willingness to change our thoughts and plans in accordance.

> >>

> >> I'm inclined to think that we need to buy a little time with some

> >> strategic reduction of some Barred Owls, not only to see how the Spotted

> >> Owl fares, but also to see if it makes a difference in population

> numbers

> >> of other birds and animals that the Barred Owl also affects, (example:

> >> Western Screech Owl that it preys on).

> >>

> >> I appreciate all those who have and still will participate in this

> >> discussion - it's nice to get some new material to help me formulate my

> >> latest thoughts on this subject (which actually comprises a multitude of

> >> issues).

> >>

> >> Once again, the Tweeters forum stimulates some brain cells...:-)

> >>

> >>

> >> Barb Deihl

> >>

> >> North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

> >>

> >> barbdeihl at comcast.net

> >>



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