Posts Tagged ‘barred owl’
July 1st, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Feds Take a Side in “Owl Wars”

Well, isn’t this a hoot?  Ever since the spotted owl was listed as an endangered species in 1990, the federal government has gone out of its way to limit timber companies from diminishing its wooded living spaces.  But while the Feds were concentrating on keeping dreaded homo sapiens at bay, another creature swooped in threatening to kill-off spotted owls: barred owls.

It turns out that barred owls are bigger and meaner than their spotted cousins.  According to Reuters, barred owls “have made steady gains in displacing spotted owls, which are being disrupted during nesting and are losing out in the competition for mice and other food.”

Some questions come to mind.  Who’s protecting the mice these owls are hunting mercilessly?  Surely, the mouse “and other food” constituencies are being impacted negatively by the increase in predator supply.

Also, isn’t the barred owl vs. spotted owl contest really a matter of survival of the fittest?  If human societies always evolve toward higher, better, more progressive outcomes, why not members of the animal kingdom?

Maybe this bird-on-bird fight has another dimension that liberals don’t want to contemplate.  Perhaps the spotted owls got fat and happy with government removing competition for resources.  As it nested quietly, maybe the species forgot how to fight for food.

There’s one other point to make: The barred owls are from the East Coast.  They only began settling in the spotted owl’s Pacific Northwest territory in the 1970’s.  In only a few decades, the barred owls have multiplied faster and staked out more territory than the native spotted owls.  If the Feds let nature and demography continue there will be no spotted owls left in a few years.

Partisans for the spotted owl want the Feds to take “decisive action” against the barred owl to save the spotted owl’s way of life.  The Feds are contemplating doing just that, even though it probably means capturing and killing owls who are just trying to scratch out an existence.  The real problem here seems to be letting a situation get out of control through either ignorance or incompetence.  Now, there are no good options for getting the genie back in the bottle.

Much like mice, food for thought.