The barred owl. Photo by Mdf, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia.

On this week’s EcoNews Report, spotted owl experts Dave Wiens and Peter Carlson join bird nerds Ken Burton and Tom Wheeler to discuss barred owls and their impact to West Coast ecosystems. The barred owl is in the news because of a draft strategy released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to cull the invasive owl to benefit the native northern spotted owl and California spotted owl. The impacts of barred owls are well-documented — together with habitat loss, barred owls are driving the spotted owls to extinction! — but the barred owl’s impact to other species is a deep concern for ecologists. The more varied diet and higher densities of the barred owl result in significant and new impacts to basically anything that moves and is smaller than the barred owl, from birds to rodents to amphibians and crayfish.

Listen and nerd out!