A pair of owls at the Langley-based Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program is fostering a newly-hatched chick, and the nest can bee seen on a live webstream.
Shania and Scud are among the 20 northern spotted owls who live in the breeding centre, at the site of the former Mountain View Conservation Centre near Fort Langley.
After raising a chick last year, Shania and Scud have been pressed into service again this year as foster parents, taking over an egg for a younger and less experienced pair of owls.
The egg was laid on March 11 and hatched on April 15.
The northern spotted owl is Canada’s most endangered owl. Fewer than 30 are believed to still exist in southern British Columbia, including those at the breeding centre.
Spotted owls require old growth forest as habitat, and logging over many decades has reduced their population from an estimated 1,000 in B.C. before European settlement to the few that remain today.
The breeding program began in 2007 with a founding population of six adults. There are currently 20 at the site, including four breeding pairs.
The program’s goal is to house 10 breeding pairs by 2020, and to release 10 to 20 offspring into the wild each year for the next 15 to 20 years.
The breeding program’s location is sizable – it includes aviaries where the owls can fly and even hunt in 40 by 24 foot square enclosures that are 24 feet high. The aviaries are filled with logs, rocks, trees, and stumps.
More information on the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program can be found HERE.