April 27, 2017

Spotted Owl Population Dynamics in the Central Sierra Nevada

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Juvenile spotted owl in a nest cavity

We have been studying the demographics of California spotted owls in the central Sierra Nevada since 1986.  The Eldorado Study Area is located within the Eldorado and Tahoe National Forests between Georgetown, CA, and the Lake Tahoe Basin.  The vegetation is primarily mixed-conifer forest, but red-fir forest, chaparral, and oak woodlands are also present.

Our ultimate goals are to assess the factors that affect spotted owl population dynamics and to provide recommendations for spotted owl conservation based on our study results.  In conjunction with the basic demographic study, we have conducted many ecological studies of the California spotted owl regarding habitat use, life-history strategy, genetics and phylogeny, stress physiology, and the effects of other owl species on spotted owl response rates during surveys.  In 2001 and 2004, individuals from our research project participated in meta-analyses that examined spotted owl population vital rates throughout its range.