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097

northern spotted owl

OLogy Series
animal
card
097

northern spotted owl

OLogy Series
animal

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.

What does the northern spotted owl's call sound like?

"Who, hoo-hoo, hooo!"

"Noodle, noodle, zoooo!"

"Goo-ey, rat-tat, too-ee!"

Are you right?

Correct!

The northern spotted owl's call sounds like "Who, hoo-hoo, hooo!" They'll let out a warning call even during the day when they're asleep if they think something's trespassing on their territory.

George Barrowclough

When we study spotted owls in the forest, we sleep during the day and work at night. We have to follow their schedule.

Unlike most wild animals, northern spotted owls have little fear of humans.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

There are no animals in the forest that hunt northern spotted owls, so humans don't seem like a threat to them, either.

Northern spotted owls are excellent nest builders.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Unlike many birds, the northern spotted owl doesn't build a nest. This owl lays her eggs in openings in old trees, or uses a nest left by another animal.

northern spotted owl
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: courtesy of AMNH; George Barrowclough, courtesy of Chuck Myers.