Adaptive significance of growth patterns in juvenile spotted owls

D. M. Kristan, R. J. Gutierrez, A. B. Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We examined relative growth patterns of six morphological features of fledgling spotted owls (Strix occidentalis). Juvenile spotted owls exhibit early nest desertion, possibly to avoid parasitism or detection by predators or to reduce thermal stress. Because juveniles leave the nest before they are capable fliers, they primarily use morphological features other than their wings and tail to move among roost locations. When juveniles fledged, mass, wing chord, and tail length were still increasing, whereas tarsus length and bill depth were near adult size. Moreover, juvenile bill length was greater than mean adult bill length for nearly all time periods. Early growth in tarsi and bills may increase juveniles' ability to effectively locomote after they have fledged but before they can adequately fly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1882-1886
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


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