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Roost Site Characteristics of Northern Spotted Owls in the Nonbreeding Season in Central Washington

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Abstract:

To evaluate habitat important to northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) away from the nest stand, we used radio telemetry to locate adult owls at diurnal roosts during the nonbreeding season (September 1–March 15, 1994–1997). We recorded physiographic variables and measured within-stand structural characteristics within nested circular plots centered on roost trees. We then compared owl use plots to random plots selected within suitable habitat and inside the approximated home ranges of the 14 (7 male, 7 female) owls studied. Spotted owls selected older forest over young forest. Owls selected sites lower in elevation, with larger tree diameter at breast height (dbh), fewer trees/ha, greater canopy cover, less cover of low shrubs, and fewer pieces of down wood than random locations. Females used old-growth and mature forest to a greater degree than males. Fewer trees/ha, less cover of low shrubs, and fewer pieces of down wood/transect best discriminated roost sites from random sites. These characteristics are not indicative of stand conditions thought to maximize prey density. Results may indicate selection of specific sites for roosting. However, because spotted owls opportunistically take prey from diurnal roosts and often roost in foraging stands, they may also be selecting for site characteristics that facilitate the capture of prey. FOR. SCI. 48(2):437–444.

Keywords: Strix occidentalis caurina; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; habitat; logistic regression; natural resource management; natural resources; radio telemetry; resource selection probability function

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Wildlife Biologist Raedeke Associates, Inc., 5711 N.E. 63rd Street, Seattle, WA, 98115, Phone: (206) 525-8122; Fax: (206) 526-2880 dherter@nwlink.com 2: Director Fish and Wildlife Resources, Plum Creek Timber Co., 999 Third Avenue, Suite 2300, Seattle, WA, 98102, Phone: (413) 545-4889; Fax: (413) 545-4358 lhicks@plumcreek.com 3: Wildlife Biologist Plum Creek Timber Co., P.O. Box 1990 Columbia Falls, MT, 59912, hstabins@plumcreek.com 4: Professor The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, 302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resource Building, Columbia, MO, 65211, millspaughj@missouri.edu 5: Wildlife Biologist Raedeke Associates, Inc., 5711 N.E. 63rd Street, Seattle, WA, 98115 6: Wildlife Biologist 306 S. Sampson Street, Ellensburg, WA, 98926

Publication date: May 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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