Strix occidentalis lucida
Mexican spotted owls have been listed as federally threatened since 1993 because of deforestation and habitat degradation. However, this skillful hunter has found sanctuary among Zion's canyons.
The Mexican spotted owl's range stretches across the Four Corners region of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Its preferred habitat is cool, moist, old-growth forests. So where can this owl find refuge in Zion? Within the dry desert of Zion lies an unexpected oasis.
Deep, narrow slot canyons that have been carved into the sandstone by floods create secret hiding places for these birds. The tall walls of these canyons allow very little sunlight in, keeping them cool like air-conditioned homes. These temperate canyons are green and lush and support a variety of life, including tall trees and rodents.