Barred Owl Removal: US Government To Kill 3,600 Birds

The US government’s plan for barred Oows removal will include the “limited experimental removal” of 3,600 birds.

Workers from the The US Fish & Wildlife Service published an environmental impact statement on Wednesday, which outlines its plans to remove the owls in “test areas.” Those areas include parts of Oregon, Washington, and California.

The barred owl removal is occurring because “habitat loss and competition from recently arrived barred owls (are) the most pressing threats to the northern spotted owl.”

Officials would ultimately like to trap the barred owls and move them to another location. However, the reports notice of termination is likely to not sit well with animal rights activists.

In the report, the Fish & Wildlife Service points to “lethal and non-lethal methods of barred owl removal.”

The barred owl removal is contained inside a 505-page environmental impact statement. The “general approach involves attracting territorial barred owls with recorded calls and shooting birds that respond when they approach closely.”

The report specifically states:

“All lethal removal should be done by shotgun of 20 gauge or larger bore, using non-toxic lead substitute (e.g., Hevi-shot) shot. Lead shot should not be used. Rifles, pistols, or other firearms or methods are not authorized under this protocol. We recommend using a shotgun with a full choke.”

The Fish & Wildlife Service does spend seven pages examining the ethical questions both for and against killing the barred owns.

In the end, the report notes:

“Out of a sense of the crisis and triage, the group participants shared a perspective concerning the need to conduct a removal experiment to answer critical questions.

While both lethal and nonlethal removal was discussed, lethal removal generated the most concern amongst interested parties, yet was also considered by many the most feasible approach.”

In 2005, government officials also suggested barred owls removal, but ultimately the plan was objected to by rights groups.

Do you think the barred owl removal report should be pushed forward or stopped dead in its tracks?