The dread barred owl. Photo: Peter K Burian, via Wikimedia. Creative Commons license.


The barred owl, not native to California, is quickly becoming established in the state, having flown down the West Coast. The barred owl’s presence is bad news for its cousin, the northern spotted owl, the iconic species of the Timber Wars. The barred owl outcompetes the northern spotted owl and quickly takes over its territory.

With the northern spotted owl on the road to extinction, now is the time for desperate measures. To save the northern spotted owl, researchers have tested whether killing barred owls makes a difference. The grim but good news: when barred owls are removed, population declines of the northern spotted owl stabilize.

Owl researcher Dave Wiens joins Gang Green to discuss the results of his recent research.


“The EcoNews Report,” July 31, 2021.


Invader removal triggers competitive release in a threatened avian predator,” David Wiens et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Aug. 3, 2021.