I’m happy to finally share the results of a massive collaborative effort: the removal of Barred Owls from the Sierra Nevada. It is not an exaggeration to say that this averted the near-certain extirpation of California Spotted Owls from the core of their range. My now-former UW-Madison labmates Danny Hofstadter and Nick Kryshak led the removal effort in conjunction with Brian Dotters of Sierra Pacific Industries. We found that following one year of removals, Barred Owl site occupancy fell from 0.19 to 0.03. Importantly, Spotted Owls recolonized 56% of their formerly occupied sites within one year. This demonstrates that landscape-scale invasive species removals can be achieved efficiently.
This project is a somewhat rare conservation success story, and that it really gives meaning to my dissertation work. The removal effort was a direct outcome of my early-2020 paper documenting the rapid population growth of Barred Owls in the northern Sierra Nevada. Sounding the alarm on a conservation crisis isn’t enough – we need to act on our findings.
You can read (and download) the paper HERE.