Northern Spotted Owl
A medium-sized, chocolate brown owl with dark eyes, the northern spotted owl is a nocturnal "perch-and-pounce" predator that captures its prey (primarily small forest mammals) with its claws. Like most owl species, the spotted owl nests in the tops of trees or in cavities of naturally deformed and/or diseased trees. Spotted owls primarily mate for life and may live up to 20 years. Although the breeding season varies with geographic location and elevation, spotted owls generally nest from February to June. One to four (usually two) pure white eggs are laid in the early spring and hatch about a month later. Parental care of the juveniles generally lasts into September when the young owls finally take off on their own.

Northern spotted owls live in forests characterized by dense canopy closure of mature and old-growth trees, abundant logs, standing snags, and live trees with broken tops. Although they are known to nest, roost, and feed in a wide variety of habitat types, these owls prefer older forest stands with variety: multi-layered canopies of several tree species of varying size and age, both standing and fallen dead trees, and open space among the lower branches to allow flight under the canopy. Typically, forests do not attain these characteristics until they are at least 150 to 200 years old.

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