"A Shot in the Dark"

"In hopes of saving one owl species, scientists are killing another."

"David Wiens raised the 12-gauge shotgun and took a few long, slow breaths to steady himself. It was his first time doing the worst part of a new job. He would have liked to have found any reason to delay, to not take the shot, but there was none: The large owl was perched right where she needed to be, just 20 yards away, unobstructed on a low branch and clearly visible in the beam of the high-powered flashlight mounted on his shotgun.

She had the dramatic light-and-dark markings and elegantly rimmed face he was looking for. The distinctive, upslanting hoot — “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?” — confirmed her as a barred owl, an invader to this dark, wet forest in Oregon’s coastal mountains and the subject of this most unusual experiment. There were, much as he wanted one, no excuses.

“The little red dot,” Wiens says, “was right where I needed it to be.”"

Brooke Jarvis reports for California Sunday February 4, 2016.

Source: California Sunday, 02/10/2016