Northern Spotted Owl – Strix occidentalis caurina
If you are lucky enough to notice a chocolate brown, medium sized owl with dark eyes, you may have spotted this nocturnal creature. Classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened, these majestic and adorable birds live in dense canopy forests with old-growth trees, logs, and snags. They prefer special and multilayered canopies where you can find old, new, fallen, and standing trees, but also open space in the lower branches where they can fly. It may take a century for a forest to form into a perfect Spotted Owl territory. Timber harvesting and land conversions have decreased owl habitat, but the listing as Threatened has helped preserve some available forest land.
Their nests lie in the tops of trees or in natural tree cavities. During incubation of their eggs sometime in February, the male forages and brings food to their mother and her babies who may perch away from the nest after three or four weeks. After four months or so, when autumn begins, the young owls can leave their nests and try to hunt and live on their own. Owls are effective predators as adults, they “perch-and-pounce” on small forest mammals. They primarily mate for life which is a fairly long time considering they can live up to twenty years!
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