Holiday Farm Fire area's spotted owls
Work is being expedited in the Holiday Farm Fire area and other locations near the northern spotted owl nesting areas. This scheduling will allow our crews time to finish before the birds’ nesting season.
The northern spotted owl is one of three spotted owl subspecies and is native to the Pacific Northwest. It is a medium-sized dark brown owl. There are roughly 1,200 pairs of northern spotted owls in Oregon and their numbers have diminished over several decades in the Pacific Northwest.
Our expedited operations near their nesting areas respect the importance of these key predators in the local woods they inhabit. The owls specifically keep rodent and other small animal populations in balance with their hunting prowess. Of critical importance, their existence and stability in numbers are vital indicators of forest health since their survival depends on the presence of diverse, robust evergreen forest ecosystems.
Protecting the northern spotted owl nesting season habitat is critical for the health of Oregon’s forests. Northern spotted owls are considered a federally-threatened species, so the Task Force’s targeted and purposeful effort is designed to ensure the northern spotted owl thrives in the forests of Oregon.
Historically, several northern spotted owl (NSO) nests have been detected along the highway segments where hazard tree removal will and are occurring, and within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFW) Disturbance zone.
In the Holiday Farm fire area, there is 1 known nesting center along Highway 126.
Removal of hazard trees around 0.5 miles around the NSO detection areas are prioritized for completion by end of February. The NSO nesting window starts March 1 and detection of an active nest can affect the tree removal schedule in the nest vicinity.
In other words, Holiday Farm fire’s hazard tree removal work will be completed before NSO nesting season begins. If an active nest is found, it will change the tree removal schedule in order to protect the owls.
Our task force team has done a thorough evaluation of the habitat in the area of known nest sites and, in the case of the one site on Holiday Farm, determined that much of the area is severely burned and that the historic nesting center (and nest) is likely gone.