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Seven Mexican spotted owl chicks found at Los Alamos lab

A parent owl sits with two chicks. (Courtesy LANL)

A parent owl sits with two chicks. (Courtesy LANL)


Biologists located a record seven Mexican spotted owl chicks on Los Alamos National Laboratory property during nest surveys last month.


“We’ve never found this many chicks,” Chuck Hathcock, wildlife biologist with the Environmental Stewardship group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in a news release about the Mexican spotted owl, which the federal government lists as threatened. “It’s encouraging to see successful nests because it’s an indication that our efforts to protect these species are making an impact.” The species is on the


Under its Habitat Management Plan, LANL protects and manages species that are federally listed as threatened or endangered. The laboratory’s plan was originally approved in 2000, and requires surveillance and protection of endangered species and their habitats.


Much of the owls’ primary habitat in the Jemez Mountains was destroyed in the Las Conchas Fire in 2011.


“Stewardship and our national mission operate hand-in-hand at the laboratory,” said Michael Brandt, associate director of the Environment, Safety and Health Directorate at LANL.