GIVE A HOOT FOR OWLS
The movie Hoot follows the adventures of three young friends whose mission is to protect burrowing owls and their habitat in Florida from developers. Unfortunately, destruction of habitat for rare owls isn’t just a Hollywood script. Imperiled owls throughout California and Arizona are threatened by bulldozers clearing land for urban sprawl and chainsaws cutting into old-growth forests. In 2006, the Center launched our Give a Hoot campaign to help protect imperiled owls, and during the opening weekend of Hoot , volunteers stood in front of theaters in 27 cities in 14 states to educate moviegoers about the real-life plight of vanishing owls.
ANCIENT FOREST HABITAT FOR SPOTTED OWLS: THREATENED BY LOGGING
The Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) lives in forests from southern Utah and Colorado through the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and central Mexico. Its continuing decline mirrors the deteriorating health of the Southwest’s old-growth forests and riparian areas. Logging of ancient forests, domestic livestock grazing, and a century of fire suppression have reduced Mexican spotted owl populations to only 2,000 known owls. The Center won a threatened listing for this owl in 1993 and designation of critical habitat in 2004.
The California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis) lives in old-growth forests throughout the Sierra Nevada and southern coast range — habitat that’s been decimated by more than a century of logging, road building, and development. This agile predator is declining by as much as 10 percent each year, placing it in serious danger of extinction. The Center petitioned for federal listing of the California spotted owl in 2000 and in 2004.
ARIZONA ’S PYGMY OWLS: ABANDONED BY GOVERNMENT
The tiny cactus ferruginous pygmy owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum) inhabits deserts and riparian forests in southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. It’s critically endangered in Arizona, where fewer than 20 pygmy owls are known to survive, and its last important ironwood forest habitat is coveted by developers and threatened by dozens of construction projects. The Center won an endangered listing for the pygmy owl in 1997 and designation of critical habitat in 1999. However, the Bush administration illegally removed the species from the endangered list in 2006, stripping all protections. We petitioned in 2007 to re-establish protection for this rare bird.
CALIFORNIA ’S BURROWING OWLS: THREATENED BY DEVELOPMENT
The ground-nesting western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea), once one of the most abundant grassland bird species in California, is severely threatened by habitat loss due to urban sprawl. Breeding colonies have declined by 8 percent annually, and the owls are completely or nearly eliminated from 15 counties — one quarter of their California range. In2003, the Center petitioned to list the burrowing owl under the California Endangered Species Act.
|Burrowing owl photo © Lynne Howes||HOME / DONATE NOW / SIGN UP FOR E-NETWORK / CONTACT US / PHOTO USE /|