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Northern Spotted Owl Continues to Decline

Endangered Listing Needed

(Washington, D.C., April 7, 2015) The Northern Spotted Owl has been proposed for endangered status under the Endangered Species Act, a decision supported by American Bird Conservancy. Endangered status is warranted by the owl’s rapid population decline, and scientific studies indicating that habitat loss and the Barred Owl’s incursion into Northwest forests are pushing the Northern Spotted Owl to the brink of extinction.

“Considering the Northern Spotted Owl’s population decline, a reduction in breeding success, and the growing presence of Barred Owls based on 2013 monitoring reports, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to take decisive action,” said Steve Holmer, senior policy advisor for American Bird Conservancy.

There are eight long-term demography studies that make up the federal government’s monitoring program for the Northern Spotted Owl. Populations in all eight study areas are in decline and well below historic averages for both total numbers and breeding success.

“In the Tyee demographic study area near Roseburg, Oregon, the population has seen a severe drop in the last five years; only 29 owl pairs were found in 2013 compared to 66 pairs ten years ago; the number of females nesting has decreased, as has the average number of offspring,” said Holmer. Researchers concluded that “the last 3 years of reproduction have been the lowest on record and resulted in the fewest number of young produced.”

In addition, the Northwestern California monitoring report found that over the past five years owl detections have decreased 30%. In Oregon’s Coast Range study area, the percentage of sites with spotted owl detection has declined from a high of 88 percent in 1991, to a low of 23 percent in 2013. And for three consecutive years no sub-adult owls were sited.

The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) submitted a reclassification petition for the northern spotted owl to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on August 15, 2012.

Steve Holmer - ABC

10th April 2015