New NW spotted owl plan out; rival bird targeted



PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new plan for saving the northern spotted owl is taking aim — maybe literally — at a rival bird.

Federal agency leaders said Thursday the spotted owl is losing out to a bigger, more aggressive invader from the eastern United States, the barred owl.

The competition is now considered the most pressing threat to the spotted owl, which relies on remnant old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

The spotted owl was listed under the Endangered Species Act two decades ago. But officials now say its numbers are declining by 3 percent a year — faster than previously thought.

Federal officials have talked about shooting some of the barred owls, which are not in jeopardy of extinction. But the new plan doesn’t settle on a specific way to control them.