Current status:

Federally Threatened, Marin population appears stable

Watch the NBC Bay Area News Report: Steady Population of Northern Spotted Owls in Marin County.


Late-succession and old-growth forest of Douglas-fir, coast redwood, bishop pine, mixed conifer–hardwood, and other evergreen hardwood trees

Cause of range-wide decline:

Loss of habitat in late-successional and old-growth forest; competition with Barred Owls as this close relative expands its range

Current primary threats in Marin County:

Competition from the Barred Owl, poisoning from rodenticides, habitat loss

What we’re doing about it:

We are researching Northern Spotted Owls in Marin County to understand the biology of a secretive species living in close proximity to an urban center where noise and human traffic can impact the owl.  Our current research project addresses these human threats by locating and monitoring nests and promptly communicating these results to local land managers. USFWS rules require that land management activities do not harm or harass owls or their habitat.

Our data have resulted in:

Learn more:

Visit The State of the Birds San Francisco Bay 2011 and reading the reports and publications below.

Status and distribution of the barred owl in Marin County, California , Jennings, S., R. L. Cormier, T. Gardali, D. Press, and W. W. Merkle. 2011. Western Birds 42: 103-110.

Status and trends in demography of Northern Spotted Owls, 1985–2003. Wildlife Monographs No.163.  Anthony

Modeling nest-site occurrence for the Northern Spotted Owl at its southern range limit in central California.  Landscape and Urban Planning 90: 76-85. Stralberg et. al.

How you can help:

Visit The State of the Birds San Francisco Bay 2011 to view threats and conservation actions for the Northern Spotted Owl.