Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spotted Versus Barred

If you have been to the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest or any wetland forest east of the Mississippi River, you have seen or heard a Barred Owl (Strix varia).

Barred Owl - Mark Musselman
The Associated Press reports that, To save the imperiled spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a controversial plan to shoot barred owls...

Eric Forsman, a U.S. Forest Service scientist whose work in the 1970s showed how the decline in spotted owls was tied to logging old-growth forests, was skeptical that killing barred owls would make a difference.

“There are not enough shotguns,” he said. “It would be just about like trying to wipe out coyotes.”

The Interior Department will accept public comments on the plan for 90 days.

Barred Owls here in our swamp have a varied diet.  We have previously reported that Barred Owls eat crayfish, ducklings, turtles, young opossums, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  It appears that they will eat anything that they can overpower and kill.  It's that attitude that has gotten them in trouble with their smaller cousins in the Pacific Northwest.

Visitors and staff enjoy spotting the Barred Owls during strolls around the boardwalk and sightings will increase through the spring as adults work to feed their growing young.  Spotted Owls are safe in our part of the world, but crayfish should be on high alert!

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