northern spotted owl

Ornithologists, or scientists who study birds, want to prevent the forests of the Pacific Northwest from being chopped down for lumber. Why? Because these forests are home to the northern spotted owl, one of three kinds of spotted owls. In 1990, this bird was added to the Threatened Species List. Now it is illegal to destroy its habitat.

Scientific name: Strix occidentalis caurina
Size: 16 to 19 inches long, 1 to 1.5 pounds
Habitat: forests of the Pacific coast and western North America
Diet: rodents and small mammals
Characteristics: chocolate-colored, eyes circled with white feather spots
Significance: due to habitat destruction, there may be only 3,000 northern spotted owls left

Image credits: main image: courtesy of AMNH; George Barrowclough, courtesy of Chuck Myers.