Have you ever been to the famous Redwood forests of California or the Pacific Northwest? Many people visit these forests each year to stare in awe at the enormous old-growth trees. Many of the trees in these areas are hundreds of years old, and some reach astounding sizes, with heights of over 350 feet and diameters of 26 feet around.
It’s not only humans who appreciate these forests; a special species of owl makes its home there too. The Spotted Owl has become world-famous in recent years simply because of its location. Spotted Owls live mostly in the large, moist forests of the west and rely upon old-growth trees for nesting. Though these trees are appreciated for their beauty and majesty, they are also highly-valued in the timber industry. This nocturnal owl became the subject of controversy when people realized that logging was having a negative effect on Spotted Owl populations.
Fortunately, many groups and individuals are working to protect the Spotted Owl by conserving the old-growth forests that these owls rely upon. With luck, these dark-eyed owls of the night will someday be able to make a come-back in the western forests they call home.
Maps provided by The Birds of North America Online and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.