Getting Wild With… The Endangered Blakiston’s Fish Owl

A fishing Blakiston fish owl in Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan. Photo by Julie Edgley via Wikimedia Commons

By Mila Lemoine, age 9

The Blakiston’s fish owl measures 60 to 72 centimeters in length, making it the largest owl in the world. The Blakiston’s fish owl lives in the riparian woodlands of Asia and Russia. These owls nest in large, old trees near rivers, lakes and springs. Unfortunately, this owl is endangered because of human activity. 

The two great threats facing the fish owls are climate change and habitat loss. Logging roads provide access for trespassers, such as poachers, loggers and pine nut collectors, who damage the local environment and pose a danger to these great owls. The owls and their prey are often killed by vehicles, accidental wildfire, and when the trees which these owls call home are cut down. 

The Blakiston’s fish owls eat fish from the rivers during winter. When spring comes, the owls require extra food to feed their recently born chicks, so will eat amphibians. The alternating climate could change spring’s arrival, making frogs arrive too early or too late to provide the necessary diet for starving fish owl chicks. The results of such a change could be catastrophic, starving owlets to death and contributing to a future population drop.

The Blakiston’s fish owl can still be saved, but not without our help. The population drop is due to human activity, and it will take human intervention to save these majestic creatures. To save the fish owl, we must focus on habitat rehabilitation to create a balanced ecological system. If we take these steps now, we can help repopulate the owl and allow them to thrive in the wild again.

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