As climate change and pollution advance, loss of natural habitat is more pointed. Another species was added to the list of endangered animals, and this time, it is a bird: the northern spotted owl. The California Fish and Game Commission has recently reached this conclusion.
On August 25, the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) was declared an endangered species by the California Fish and Game Commission through the California Endangered Species Act.
Northern spotted owls live in virgin forests. Because wood is severely exploited, birds are left without their natural habitat. This causes them to become almost extinct. Their disappearance can also lead to severe unbalance of the forests’ ecosystems.
Northern spotted owls have been considered threatened species so far, since 1990. As statistics show that the birds’ population has been dropping every year, authorities thought of more rigorous measures in order to protect the species. Its status as an endangered species can help them raise awareness among advocates and environmental supporters that further measures are required for the safety of the birds.
Officials are aware of the importance of the situation, as Tom Wheeler declared on behalf of the Environmental Protection Information Center’s (EPIC):
“The listing of the northern spotted owl is one small step towards recovery. The owl was here long before us. It is our moral obligation to ensure that the owl will continue to roam our forests long after we are gone.”
Rob DiPerna, who is an advocate at EPIC, also declared:
“As evidenced by the owl’s decline, our current protections are not up to snuff. I hope that all stakeholders can set aside differences and work together towards recovery.”
Northern spotted owls are a subspecies of the spotted owls’ kind. Most of them can be found in the United States, but now there are few individuals left. Their size reaches is at most twenty inches long, with their wingspan of approximately 42 inches. They are nocturnal birds, with good abilities of sight and flight. They feed on rats, other small rodents, reptiles and small birds, which they hunt not only when flying.
Northern spotted owl females are larger than males, and they hunt too, except for the nesting period. They choose to build their nests in tall trees, or even use abandoned nests from other birds.
An interesting fact about northern spotted owls is that their eyes are black. They are among the few owl species with this particular feature, as the others have red or yellow eyes.
Image courtesy of: Public Domain Image