Frequently Asked Questions
How many owls are there at the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program?
As of November 2020, there are 28 northern spotted owls in the NSOBP. Sixteen of these individuals were born in captivity.
Can I come see the owls?
Due to COVID-19, we have had to suspend our public tours. When it is safe to do so, we are open for tours on select dates from June to January. Tours are conducted in a way to have minimal disturbance to the owls, but visitors will get the opportunity to see one of the non-breeding and non-releasable owls up close. In the meantime, we are offering virtual programming. Click here for more information.
Where are you located? What hours are you open?
We are located near Fort Langley, British Columbia on 25 acres of land leased to us by a private farm owner. As the facility is located at the back of the farm, we do not publicize our address. We are not open to the public except for select tour dates. Feel free to email us if you are interested in tours! **NOTE** Tours are suspended at this time due to COVID-19. Information about virtual programming can be found here.
Why do you artificially incubate the eggs?
By artificially incubating the eggs, we are able to closely monitor humidity, temperature, and rotation of the eggs in a sanitary environment. By removing the eggs from the nest to artificially incubate them, we are also able to "double clutch" each nesting female, which means we are able to produce twice as many eggs compared to if the females naturally incubated their eggs. Click here to learn more about artificial incubation.
I think I found a spotted owl. What should I do?
With fewer than six wild spotted owls left in BC, sightings are very rare! If you suspect you've sighted a northern spotted owl, take note of the location. Are you in an urban area? What do the trees look like? Spotted owls require 3000 hectares (30 kilometers squared) of 100+ year old forest to survive. If you still think you have found a spotted owl, try to get a photo or record the owl calling. Barred owls are commonly mistaken for spotted owls as they are both medium sized owls with dark eyes and no ear tufts, but can be found in a wide variety of urban habitats. Click here to listen to spotted owl calls and compare what you are seeing with photos of the spotted owls at the NSOBP here. If you still suspect it is a spotted owl, email us!
How many wild spotted owls are there in British Columbia?
As of 2020, there are an estimated fewer than six wild individual northern spotted owls remaining in British Columbia. In Washington, Oregon, and California, the population of the northern spotted owl has significantly decreased.
When will you release the spotted owls?
Spotted owl releases will be conducted by the Province of BC and no releases have taken place yet, but the Province of BC is developing a release plan that is due to be available January 2021.
Where will the owls be released?
The Province of BC has protected habitat within Wildlife Management Areas (100% forest retention), provincial parks, and Managed Wildlife Management Areas. These areas have been designated to protect habitat across the range of the spotted owl in BC. More information can be found here.
There will not be any releases on Vancouver Island. The northern spotted owl has never naturally dispersed onto Vancouver Island. Although there is suitable old growth forest on the Island, spotted owls will not be released in these areas as it is not part of their natural range.
How do you check the owls health?
Every fall we begin our annual health exams of all the owls in the Program. Our office turns into an exam room and we bring in each owl to be examined by our veterinary team. Our vet checks their ears, eyes, beak, keel, feet, etc, the owls are weighed, and blood is taken for further lab analysis.
Click on the video below and watch as we take you into the lab for another health check we do with owl feces!