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Removing barred owls from local areas: Techniques and feasibility


  • Associate Editor: Buchanan


The barred owl (Strix varia) has invaded the range of the northern spotted owl (S. occidentalis caurina) over the past century. The Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan recommended removal experiments to assess both the effect of barred owls on spotted owls and the feasibility of initiating some form of barred owl control to enhance recovery of the northern spotted owl. Concern has been raised that such experiments will be neither feasible nor cost-effective. To assess these and other concerns, we conducted lethal removal of barred owls within 3 areas totaling 85,205 ha in northern California, USA. We collected 73 of 81 territorial barred owls detected from 2009 to 2012 during 122 field visits. It took an average of 2 hr 23 min to collect each barred owl from the time of arrival at a site to the time a collected bird was completely processed for field data. Most barred owls were collected within one-half hour of arrival at a site. Lethal removal of barred owls was rapid, technically feasible, and cost-effective. We provide recommendations for techniques we found to be effective. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.