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explore Raptors

Spotted Owl

Scientific Name:

Strix occidentalis

Population Status:

Near Threatened

Body Length:

16-19 inches

Wingspan:

3-1/2 feet

Weight:

1-2 pounds

What makes a raptor a raptor?

Did you know?

  • Spotted Owls are closely tied to old-growth forests for nesting and roosting sites and the prey animals that live in this habitat.
  • They are one of the few owls that have dark colored eyes. Most owls have eyes colored from yellow to red
  • orange.
  • Many owls are associated with Minerva or Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom. She considered the owl a sacred bird, which gave the owl the reputation of having wisdom, thus the saying “wise as an owl.”

Where they live

The fragmented range of the Spotted Owl extends along the humid coastal forests of the Pacific Coast states and the mountains of the southwestern United States and central Mexico. Generally, they do not migrate but may move between higher and lower elevations with the seasons.

Why they need our help

Because of their habitat requirements in mature forests, they are endangered in Canada and threatened in the United States.

What they eat

Their diet consists of small mammals like flying squirrels, wood rats, mice, voles as well as some birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. They hunt at night by swooping down from a perch.

Nest, eggs and young

Their nest is usually in a cavity, old stick nest, or clump of debris and is located on cliffs or in canyons inside caves, on ledges, or in trees. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for 30 days. The young start moving out of the nest at 5 weeks and learn to fly at 6 weeks of age.

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