A habitat for one of Canada's most endangered birds is taking shape in Langley, British Columbia.
A few months from now, owls will hunt prey among tree trunks and saplings in a forested region near Fort Langley.
They will be one of the rarest birds of prey in the world, the Northern Spotted Owl.
The birds won't be living in the wild, however. They'll be enclosed in a large, brand new aviary being built on the grounds of the Mountain View Conservation Centre.
Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the large wire enclosures that will form the homes of the owls. Soon the netting and fencing will be put up around the flyway.
There, it is hoped the birds will lay eggs and bring new Spotted Owls into the world. Eventually, their descendents will go back into the wild again.There are thought to be just 21 Spotted Owls living in the wild in British Columbia, and another handful living in the United States. The captive breeding program has been approved by the Provincial Government.
The furnishings for the owl habitat consist of large cedar tree stumps, logs, saplings and even a few full sized trees. In places, the enclosures have been built around still living trees. Members of the Mountain View team were taken into Spotted Owl habitat to see what sort of ground cover the birds would find normal. This has been a big help in doing the interior decorating.
Their first male owl, acquired in July of this year, is named "Skye". A female is due to arrive this month, November, and it is hoped they will get along! Two more owls will be joining them.
It is hoped there will be chicks in the Spring. The owls will be introduced back into the wild at the appropriate time. Humans will have little contact with the owls, two of the keepers feeding Skye a natural diet including mice, so that he will hunt his own food.
Let's all hope for success for another endangered species.
For more information on this program, please contact:
more info on the Northern Spotted Owl......here
Portions of text excerpted from The Langley Advance newspaper, Tues. Nov. 13, 2007 by Mathew Claxton
Hancock Wildlife Foundation