Northern spotted owl recovery
The northern spotted owl is one of Canada’s most endangered species with less than five wild individuals left in British Columbia. Recovery of these endangered owls is one of the priority actions outlined in our Bridge-Seton Watershed Action Plan, and it is just one of 89 fish and wildlife projects the FWCP is funding, for approximately $10.2 million, in 2023–2024.
Each year the FWCP and the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program (NSOBP) provide an opportunity to look inside a nest at the captive breeding facility in the Fraser Valley, to watch a family raise a chick. This year it was Zalea and Einstein, raising Chick T-23.
June 2023 update—Chick T-23 has left the nest!
On June 25, Chick T-23 hopped out of the nest for the very first time. At 34 days old, she was right on track in her development to leave the nest. This behaviour is known as “fledging” and T-23 will spend the next few months testing out her wings and learning what it means to be an owl from Zalea and Einstein. She will become fully independent by the end of the fall, at which point she will be moved to her own aviary with the hope that she might bond with a male and have offspring of her own one day.
May 2023 update: northern spotted owl recovery efforts
The Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program is saddened to hear the news that two owls released from the Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Program last summer were found dead earlier this month.
The NSOBP, Spuzzum First Nation, and the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship issued the following press release on May 12, 2023:
We have been a long-time supporter of the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program (NSOBP) and our thoughts are with the entire team that is working towards the long-term goal of establishing a resilient and self-sustaining northern spotted owl population in B.C. The web-cam is not available at this time. Thank you for your patience.
Northern spotted owl facts
- The northern spotted owl is the rarest owl in Canada.
- It’s one of three sub-species of spotted owl.
- They prefer old-growth forests habitats.
- It’s among the largest owls in North America (40-48 cm long).
- It typically lays two to three eggs per clutch.
- It gets its name from the distinct spots on its head and back.
- The typical call is a four-note “who hoo hoo whoo.”
- Strix occidentalis caurina is the scientific name for this species.
- This captive breeding program is a critical part of the recovery effort of this owl in Canada.
2022 northern spotted owls released into the wild for the first time
The conservation of endangered species in B.C. took a monumental step forward in August 2022 as three spotted owls born and raised in a breeding facility were released into protected habitat in the Fraser Canyon, which was the first release of these rare birds into the wild anywhere in the world.
This historic milestone was the result of a partnership between the provincial Spotted Owl Breeding and Release Program and the Spuzzum First Nation, with the ongoing support of the federal government, conservation organizations and other groups.
Prior to the release, there was only one known spotted owl left in the wild in B.C.
The northern spotted owl is one of Canada’s most endangered species. Recovery of these endangered owls is one of our priority actions outlined in our Bridge-Seton Watershed Action Plan, and it is one of 95 fish and wildlife projects the FWCP is funding, for approximately $9.8 million, in 2022–2023. The projects help to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams. Learn more about why BC Hydro funds the FWCP.
FWCP and the Northern Spotted Owl Captive Breeding Program
One of the reasons the northern spotted owl is at risk in Canada is due to habitat loss resulting from a variety of human activities such as timber harvesting and human settlement, including the creation of reservoirs. That’s why FWCP is involved: our mission is to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by BC Hydro dams. In addition to funding the breeding program, the FWCP has also funded research and monitoring on northern spotted owls. Subscribe and stay informed about FWCP grants, and the projects we fund, including this one. If you have questions about the FWCP, please ask us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northern Spotted Owl Captive Breeding Program’s objective is to release captive-raised owls into protected habitats, with the goal of establishing a viable self-sustaining population of spotted owls within the Lillooet area.
The Northern Spotted Owl Captive Breeding Program is funded by BC Hydro, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, INNERGEX, the Government of Canada, and the Province of B.C.