[Tweeters] ... Spotted Owls ( and Barred Owls)

Wayne C. Weber contopus at telus.net
Sun Dec 12 21:49:26 PST 2004

Stewart and Tweeters,

Spotted Owls have indeed hybridized with Barred Owls, producing the
so-called "Sparred Owl". However, such hybrids are quite rare. I
believe that fewer than a dozen have been recorded, despite the
intensive and widespread research on Spotted Owls that has taken place
over the last 30 years or so.

However, at a symposium on Spotted Owls (sponsored by the Washington
chapter of The Wildlife Society) that I attended last year at Port
Townsend, it became obvious from several presentations that
competition and displacement by the invading Barred Owl is now a major
cause of Spotted Owl decline.
The loss of Spotted Owl habitat has declined because of the Northwest
Forest Plan, but Spotted Owls continue to decrease at an alarming rate
in many areas.
Although Barred Owls tend to prefer second-growth broadleaf, mixed,
and conifer forests, they are displacing Spotted Owls even from
old-growth conifer forest in some areas. For example, if I recall
correctly, there are now few Spotted Owls left below about 2000 feet
altitude on the Olympic Peninsula, where Barred Owls have displaced
them even from old-growth.

The problem is so serious that there was some discussion of whether or
not it might be necessary to control Barred Owls so that Spotted Owls
could survive in some areas. However, there is a serious question as
to whether a Barred Owl control program would be feasible at a
reasonable cost, or whether it would ever be politically acceptable.
It would certainly be highly controversial.

Wayne C. Weber
Delta, BC
contopus at telus.net

----- Original Message -----
From: Stewart Wechsler <ecostewart at quidnunc.net>
To: TWEETERS <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2004 5:29 PM
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] ... Spotted Owls ( and Barred Owls)

> --Original Message--
> From: Wayne C. Weber
> You cited Barred Owl competition as a major cause of the decline of
> Spotted Owl.  I thought that the problem was more that the Barred
Owls were
> breeding with the Spotted Owls than that they were competing with
> Stewart Wechsler
> West Seattle
> mailto:ecostewart at quidnunc.net
> ---

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