The current issue (May 25th, 2017) of the New York Review of Books contains a review of two books on owls, penned by reviewer Robert O. Paxton (I didn’t know, BTW, that he was an “owlologist” – try saying that fast 25 times! – or an “owlophile”). Anyhow, there wasn’t much on the spotted owl and the timber controversy of the U.S. Northwest therein. But I thought I’d pass along what there was, FYI:
“Efforts to protect one species of North American owl became an issue in the 1992 presidential election. President George H.W. Bush warned that if environmentalists like vice-presidential candidate Al Gore got their way, “we’ll be up to our necks in owls and outta work for every American.” The owl in question was the spotted owl, a midsized forest owl of the Pacific Northwest that disappears when old-growth forest is cut. Efforts to preserve old-growth forest for the bird infuriated workers in the declining lumber industry. They sported bumper stickers that read “shoot an owl, save a logger.” The issue has now subsided, mostly because the loggers, having lost the “spotted owl war,” found other work or other homes.
“Today the few spotted owls that remain in the United States (they are nearly gone from Canada) have a new enemy. The closely related but more aggressive barred owl, abundant in the eastern United States, is expanding into the Pacific Northwest, where it pushes out the slightly smaller spotted owl. The US Forest Service has been discreetly culling barred owls in that region. Even so, the spotted owl could become the first North American owl to go extinct.”