Endangered Mexican Spotted owl symbol ancient forests

Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) is the Southwest’s most famous old-growth resident.Mexican spotted owl and stands about 16-19 inches tall with wingspan of 42-45 inches.mexicanspottedowl_crobinsilver

Unlike most owls, Mexican spotted owls have dark eyes. The Mexican spotted owl is an ashy-chestnut brown color with white and brown spots on its abdomen, back and head. Its’ spots  are bigger than the spots of the other two cousins, California and Northern spotted owls, making the Mexican spotted owls appear lighter than their relatives. Their brown tails are marked with thin white bands. This owl is one of the largest owls in North America. Called the “owl of the west” and found from southern Utah, Colorado, through the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and the mountains of Central Mexico. Nearly 90% of known owl territories exist on Forest Service administered-lands in Arizona and New Mexico.

The favorite foods of this owl include wood rats, mice, voles, rabbits, gophers, bats, birds, reptiles and arthropods.

The owls prefer the coolest part of the forest, often choosing nest trees on the northern or eastern facing slopes. Nests on cliffs in Texas are at 5,000 to 7,000 feet elevation in deep, cool canyons. Most owlets (baby owls) leave the nest in June, about 35 days after hatching. Owlets are unable to fly very well when they first leave the nest, and their parents continue to feed them until they become fully independent, usually by October.
The spotted owl has long served as symbol for environmentalists across the nation, and the Mexican spotted owl is the Southwest’s most famous old-growth resident. The species’ numbers are still declining as it continues to lose habitat to logging, development, mining, wildfire, starvation,  roadbuilding, and other forest development. It has also been negatively impacted by domestic livestock grazing and the widespread devastation grazing has had on the rare and invaluable ancient old growth riparian forests of the Southwest.

Challenges to their species recovery also come from the vary groups who espose to protect them – by favoring extractive and commercial interests at the expense of this magnificent ancient species. Worsening the situation, the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service and federal government have failed to develop and implement long-term population monitoring studies of spotted owl populations so no one knows how many owls exist today or what its population density is.

The Mexican spotted owl is threatened by the loss of old growth forests (its preferred habitat) throughout its range, starvation and fire. They are also affected by Barred Owl encroachment, great horned owl predation, low reproductive success and low juvenile survival rates and logging, grazing and animal trade. loggers, cattle grazers, developers, and other organizations whose activities can affect forest cover. In February 2008, a federal judge reinforced a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to designate 8,600,000 acres (34,800 km2) in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as critical habitat for the owl. The decision had been challenged by the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, but Judge Susan Bolton upheld the designation.

The continuing decline of the Mexican spotted owl mirrors the declining health of Southwestern old-growth forests and riparian areas.

Excerpts from http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/Mexican_spotted_owl
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/Mexican_spotted_owl/snapshot.htmlEndangered
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/endang/animals/birds/mexowl.phtml

Image courtesy  ofhttp://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/Mexican_spotted_owl/snapshot.htmlEndangered

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2 Comments

  1. November 9, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    […] The species’ numbers are still declining as it continues to lose habitat to logging, development , mining, wildfire, starvation, roadbuilding, and other forest development . More […]

  2. November 14, 2008 at 1:57 am

    […] 31) In February 2008, a federal judge reinforced a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to designate 8,600,000 acres (34,800 km2) in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as critical habitat for the owl. The decision had been challenged by the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, but Judge Susan Bolton upheld the designation. Unlike most owls, Mexican spotted owls have dark eyes. The Mexican spotted owl is an ashy-chestnut brown color with white and brown spots on its abdomen, back and head. Its’ spots  are bigger than the spots of the other two cousins, California and Northern spotted owls, making the Mexican spotted owls appear lighter than their relatives. Their brown tails are marked with thin white bands. This owl is one of the largest owls in North America. Called the “owl of the west” and found from southern Utah, Colorado, through the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and the mountains of Central Mexico. Nearly 90% of known owl territories exist on Forest Service administered-lands in Arizona and New Mexico. The favorite foods of this owl include wood rats, mice, voles, rabbits, gophers, bats, birds, reptiles and arthropods. The owls prefer the coolest part of the forest, often choosing nest trees on the northern or eastern facing slopes. Nests on cliffs in Texas are at 5,000 to 7,000 feet elevation in deep, cool canyons. Most owlets (baby owls) leave the nest in June, about 35 days after hatching. Owlets are unable to fly very well when they first leave the nest, and their parents continue to feed them until they become fully independent, usually by October. The spotted owl has long served as symbol for environmentalists across the nation, and the Mexican spotted owl is the Southwest’s most famous old-growth resident. The species’ numbers are still declining as it continues to lose habitat to logging, development, mining, wildfire, starvation,  roadbuilding, and other forest development. It has also been negatively impacted by domestic livestock grazing and the widespread devastation grazing has had on the rare and invaluable ancient old growth riparian forests of the Southwest. Worsening the situation, the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service and federal government have failed to develop and implement long-term population monitoring studies of spotted owl populations so no one knows how many owls exist today or what its population density is. The Mexican spotted owl is threatened by the loss of old growth forests (its preferred habitat) throughout its range, starvation and fire. They are also affected by Barred Owl encroachment, great horned owl predation, low reproductive success and low juvenile survival rates and logging, grazing and animal trade. loggers, cattle grazers, developers, and other organizations whose activities can affect forest cover. https://naturescrusaders.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/endangered-mexican-spotted-owl-symbol-ancient-fores… […]


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