We studied a small isolated population of Mexican Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis lucida) from 1996–1997 in the Rincon Mountains of Saguaro National Park, southeastern Arizona, USA. All mixed-conifer and pine-oak forest patches in the park were surveyed for Spotted Owls, and we located, captured, and radio-tagged 10 adult birds representing five mated pairs. Using radio-telemetry, we examined owl home range characteristics, roost habitat, and monitored reproduction within these five territories. Breeding season (Mar–Sep) home range size for 10 adult owls (95% adaptive kernel isopleths) averaged 267 ha (±207 SD), and varied widely among owls (range 34–652 ha). Mean home range size for owl pairs was 478 ha (±417 ha SD), and ranged from 70–1,160 ha. Owls that produced young used smaller home ranges than owls that had no young. Six habitat variables differed significantly between roost and random sites, including: percent canopy cover, number of trees, number of vegetation layers, average height of trees, average diameter of trees, and tree basal area. Radio-marked owls remained in their territories following small prescribed management fires within those territories, exhibiting no proximate effects to the presence of prescribed fire.
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Home range characteristics of Mexican Spotted Owls in the Rincon Mountains, Arizona