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Northern Spotted Owl

Over the past several decades there have been a number of animals that have become endangered or extinct.  Although the government and other animal rights groups have taken up the call to ensure that certain species do not disappear from the earth’s ecology forever, the reality is that there have invariably been some animals that have unavoidably perished.  As a result scientists and biologists are working harder than ever to ensure the protection of the wildlife that currently exists.  Nowhere are these efforts more apparent than in the conservation efforts to save the northern spotted owl.

Northern Spotted Owl

The northern owl is unique not only in its habitat, but also in its behavior.  An author reports that the owl is primarily a nocturnal animal which typically spends its day “perched in a protected roost”.  The spotted owl’s diet is highly diverse consisting of the following:

  • Birds
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Flying squirrels
  • Mice

Their primary predators are great-horned owls and northern goshawks.  Although the northern spotted owl is not parasitic in nature, they typically build their nests from the abandoned nests of other animals, typically preferring “mixtures of old and young forest patches that are created by natural disturbances and timber harvest”.  Uniquely pairs of spotted owl remain together for their lifespan and often remain in the same region returning to the same spot each year to nest.

According to an author “The northern spotted owl is an inconspicuous, medium-sized, dark brown owl that inhabits forests of the Pacific Coast region form southwestern British Columbia to central California”.  Federally listed as threatened in 1990, the northern spotted owl has been the centerpiece of debate for more than a decade now.  It seems that because northern spotted owls prefer “large tracts of old growth forests” forest management of federal lands has become so complicated in the Pacific Northwest, that many have argued for the destruction of the owl’s natural habitat in lieu of properly managing the forest area.  The debate has become so extensive that an author notes that the Seventh American forest Congress, which was held in February of 1996 was the first held since 1975.  The primary reason for the meeting was to decide how to balance the problems with wildlife—most notably the threatened northern spotted owl—and properly manage the forests in the Pacific Northwest.

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