Detection dog
Max, a member of the University of Washington’s Conservation Canines program, pauses after locating a northern spotted owl roosting in a tree in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. (Jennifer Hartman/UW)

A series of forest searches by dogs specially trained to sniff out northern spotted owl pellets – the undigested bones, fur and other bits regurgitated by owls – improved the probability of finding the owls by nearly 30 percent over a series of traditional vocalization surveys. This is important, as spotted owls may be adapting to the invasion of barred owls by vocalizing less. This work was published (open access) by the Center for Conservation Biology‘s Samuel Wasser. Read more about these awesome dogs and the work they do here!