Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Information Site Survey Protocol
Monitoring Spotted Owl Populations
The northern spotted owl is one of the most studied birds in the world. Monitoring spotted owl populations throughout the species’ range in Washington, Oregon, and California is an extensive effort conducted among several agencies and partners. These efforts are not designed to count the number of individual spotted owls but rather to gather sampling data from which population trends are derived.
More specific spotted owl surveys also are conducted in areas where forest management activities may affect spotted owl nesting, roosting, or foraging habitat so that potential adverse effects can be avoided or minimized. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develops survey protocols to ensure that spotted owl information is gathered in a consistent and scientifically rigorous manner. Survey protocols have been used since 1992 and were recently updated to take into account the effects the encroaching barred owl appeared to be having on spotted owl detection.