Letters to the Editor

Support imperiled seabird’s right to exist

There are very few names in Western Washington that draw as intensely divided reaction as “northern spotted owl.” From those who would tie themselves to old-growth trees to protect its forest habitat to those who would swear that the species only exists to be a bane to the logging industry, the little owl has seen its fair share of news coverage over the years. Unfortunately, with all the attention on this one species, there is another small bird that has been neglected by the media, with a continuing steep population decline as the consequence- the marbled murrelet. This forest-nesting seabird has seen some benefits from the habitat protection afforded to the spotted owl, but due to the marbled murrelet’s strict reliance on mature and old-growth trees (with the owl being more of a generalist in its forest habitat preferences), those benefits do not come close to outweighing the costs of the sustained clear cutting of our state’s old forests. The northern spotted owl did not deserve to be extinguished from our state after living here as long as any humans have and neither does the marbled murrelet. Like the spotted owl, the marbled murrelet does not want to put the logging industry out of business, it does not want to take food off of loggers’ families’ tables; the marbled murrelet just wants to survive, like we all do. Please support the marbled murrelet’s right to exist.

Kevin Schmelzlen