Washington Forest Protection Association

Northern Spotted Owl Conservation in Washington State

Map of Northern Spotted Owl Sites in Washington State

Where are the Northern Spotted Owls?

The Northern Spotted Owl is found throughout its range of Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and British Columbia. The majority of the owls live west of the Cascade Mountains. Most of the owl population is centered in Southern Oregon and Northern California, the core of the range. Washington is near the northern part of the range where species have a tougher time thriving because of lower prey density and higher energy requirements to live. Scientific research indicates that spotted owls generally rely on older forested habitats for nesting, but also use mixed ages of forest for foraging and roosting.

In Washington State alone, 1,044 owl nesting sites are tracked by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. These owl sites are territories where Northern Spotted Owl pairs or nesting singles have been known to live. Eighty-five percent of these owl sites are on federal forestland. Once the spotted owl was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, harvesting in Washington’s federal forests was reduced 98%, which will allow older forest habitat to regrow and the owl to recover over time.


  • State, Private, and County Forestland
  • Tribal Forestland
  • Federal Forestland
  • Owl Sites

Facts & Figures

13.6 million acres

Land which has a plan to complement the federal conservation strategy.

Spotted Owl protection

Every individual owl is protected from harm by the Endangered Species Act.

Spotted Owl location

Eighty-five percent of the owls are found on federal land.