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A Northern Spotted Owl hoots from deep within a Northwest forest. We know the Spotted Owl best as an unwitting symbol of an ongoing political and economic struggle. We've seen its dark eyes peering from the pages of a newspaper. A Spotted Owl stands about a foot-and-a-half tall. It's adapted to life in old-growth conifer forests, forests centuries old that have never been logged. But less than ten percent of such forest remains. Find out about owl conservation at ABCBirds.org.
Introducing the Spotted Owl
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Northern Spotted Owl hooting; male or female or both]
A Northern Spotted Owl hoots from deep within a Northwest forest. This four-note sequence is distinctive of this species.
[Repeat Northern Spotted Owl hooting]
We know the Northern Spotted Owl best as an unwitting symbol of a long-running political and economic struggle. We’ve all seen its large, dark eyes peering out from the pages of the newspaper.
But let’s take a minute to get to know the Spotted Owl as a bird that is a part of our Northwest heritage. On its tree-limb perch, a Spotted Owl stands about a foot-and-a-half tall, from its feathered toes and sharp talons to the top of its gently rounded head. The distinct white spots on its dark brown body gave it its name. Gliding on a forty-inch wingspan, the Spotted Owl looks like a large bird. Yet most weigh less than a pound and a half.
Northern Spotted Owls hunt at night, capturing small rodents on the ground. The bird’s habitat is at the heart of the controversy. [Northern Spotted Owl call] The owl is adapted to life in old-growth conifer forests, forests centuries old that have never been logged. Less than ten percent of such forest remains in the Northwest . . . and the hoots of the Spotted Owls have become increasingly rare.
[Northern Spotted Owl hooting]
For more about the continuing saga of the Northern Spotted Owl, come to our website, birdnote.org. I’m Mary McCann.
Call of the Northern Spotted Owl provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller
Dripping Northwest forest ambient provided by Kessler Productions.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org January 2011 Narrator: Mary McCann
1) the endangered species recovery plan finalized in May 2008 is 144 pages long and can be viewed at
2) the whole federal website on the Northern Spotted Owl (of which the above is one link) can be found at http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=B08B
3) a listing of scholarly articles on Spotted Owl conservation can be found at http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Spotted+Owl+current+conservation+status&hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUS314&um=1&ie=UTF-8&oi=scholart
4) a current and to-the-point article about the genetic bottleneck Northern Spotted Owls face is at : http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/06/25/spotted-owl.html