After two decades on the endangered species list, the northern spotted owl is getting some help. Weather it is the right kind of help is open to debate. Federal agencies that have been tasked with the bird's dilemma have released a plan of action designed to stem the owl's steady decline.
The reasons for the 3 percent yearly decline are mainly from the loss of old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest and the influx of the barred owl, a migrant from the eastern part of the country that has been dominating the spotted owls' habitat.
The forests of the Pacific Northwest have provided sustenance to more than just these owls; it has been the lifeblood for many thousands of families involved in the logging industry. There has to be an amicable balance available.
While not specifically addressed in the plan, ideas were floated about shooting many of the barred owls to allow the spotted owl to reclaim their habitat. Why is one species of owl protected and another to be killed? One would hope that nature will do what it has always done: adapt.