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Individual Highlight

Forest Structure Characteristics Within Barred Owl Home Ranges are Similar to Areas Used by Spotted Owls

Photo of Researchers put radio tags on barred owls to learn what forest types the owls preferred. USDA Forest ServiceResearchers put radio tags on barred owls to learn what forest types the owls preferred. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Competitive interactions with barred owls are an important factor contributing to the population decline of the threatened northern spotted owl. Prior to the turn of the 20th century, barred owls were only found east of the Mississippi River. Through the first half of the 20th century barred owls expanded their range into the forests of western Canada and the Pacific Northwest and are now common throughout the range of the northern spotted owl.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Singleton, Peter 
Research Location : Washington
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 773


Scientists with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station sampled forest structure within home ranges of 14 radio-tagged barred owls in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Three major forest types were found within the barred owl home ranges: open ponderosa pine, simple structure Douglas-fir, and complex-structure mixed grand fir. Barred owls used the complex-structure mixed grand fir forest type more than the other types during the breeding season (spring and summer), but all of the forest types were used equally during other times of the year.

This research can help managers and scientists understand and plan for the effects of competitive interactions with barred owls on spotted owl populations and will contribute information for review of the listing status of the northern spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • University of Washington

Program Areas