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Opinion: Wondering about tolerances for boredom

Originally published Friday, June 18, 2004.

Don’t be too surprised if somebody files suit on behalf of spotted owls who live in old-growth timber.

The suit would not be against loggers, because loggers haven’t been cutting much old-growth timber in the past few years, in order to protect the spotted owls. This wasn’t the loggers’ idea. Rather, they got sued and lost.

The new lawsuit, rather than being against loggers, would be against barred owls, which apparently have been flying into spotted-owl territory and having their way with female spotted owls. This has resulted in a new subspecies of owl, the barred-spotted owl (or spotted-barred owl, if you happen to be pro-spotted).

The loggers are saying that it looks like the barred owls will soon take over from the spotteds altogether, which means that all the effort and expense of not cutting old-growth timber didn’t do much to help the spotteds, and so the loggers might as well start cutting the old trees right away.

So, the environmentalists will have to sue the barred owls.

The only problem would be finding the head owl, so they would have somebody to hand a summons to.

It wouldn’t do to serve papers on just any old barred owl, because they are flighty birds who often don’t give a hoot, which makes them hard to spot.

Unlike their spotted owl cousins, which will gladly take a mouse from you if you hand it to them, the barred owls just fly away and get their own mice.

If they won’t eat a perfectly good mouse, you can imagine what they would do with a court summons. Line their perches with it, probably.


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