Spotted Owl

spoowl
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Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

 

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

 

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

Climate Endangered

Spotted Owl

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
Zoom InOut
Focal Species
Jared Hobbs/All Canada Photos/Corbis
Cool Facts

There are three subspecies of the Spotted Owl: The Northern Spotted Owl, the California Spotted Owl, and the Mexican Spotted Owl.

As with most owls, the female averages slightly larger than the male.

It is one of the best-documented owl species in the United States largely because of the controversy surrounding its habitat.

If a nest is destroyed, it won’t attempt to nest again that season.


Already an endangered species, this bird of old-growth forests is projected to lose 98 percent of its current winter range by 2080, according to Audubon’s climate models. With the more aggressive Barred Owl already displacing this vulnerable species, climate might accelerate this decline even more. The summer season was not modeled as there was not enough data to do so.

 

Are the projected range maps different from the range maps in field guides? Find the answer here.

Species Range Change from 2000 to 2080

The size of the circles roughly indicates the species’ range size in 2000 (left) and 2080 (right).

The amount of overlap between the 2000 circle and the 2080 circle indicates how stable the range will be geographically. Lots of overlap means the bird’s range doesn’t shift much. No overlap means the species will leave its current range entirely.

About This Bird

This medium-sized owl lives year-round in mature coniferous forests of western North America. In southern reaches of its range, it inhabits canyons and various forest types, but it prefers mature forests. It nests in a tree nook or old, abandoned nest, and preys on small- to medium-sized mammals—especially rodents. In recent years the Barred Owl has expanded into much of its range in the Pacific Northwest, competing with the Spotted Owl and displacing it from many key habitats.

Cool Facts

There are three subspecies of the Spotted Owl: The Northern Spotted Owl, the California Spotted Owl, and the Mexican Spotted Owl.

As with most owls, the female averages slightly larger than the male.

It is one of the best-documented owl species in the United States largely because of the controversy surrounding its habitat.

If a nest is destroyed, it won’t attempt to nest again that season.


Birds at Risk

Explore more birds threatened by climate change around the country.

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Hooded Oriole
Mississippi Kite
Northern Shoveler
Osprey
Piping Plover
Ruffed Grouse
Rufous Hummingbird
Spotted Owl
Tundra Swan
White-throated Sparrow
Yellow-billed Magpie