Evaluating Effectiveness of Barred Owl Removal for Spotted Owl Recovery
Previous work by the USGS, in collaboration with six other federal and state agencies, documented that high densities of newly colonizing barred owls appeared to be outcompeting native northern spotted owls for space, habitat, and food. This study and others prompted the recent decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to initiate limited removal of barred owls from test areas in the Pacific Northwest as an experiment to recover threatened northern spotted owls. The USGS will help the USFWS determine if removing barred owls influences site occupancy, reproduction, survival, and population trends of spotted owls relative to control areas without barred owl removal. Test-area locations are yet to be determined. Outcomes of the study will help USFWS provide future management guidance for the recovery of northern spotted owls.