The northern spotted owl has come to represent more than a beautiful creature. So much rests on its wings, experiencing the best and worst of humanity. It is a living example of efforts to reap the benefits of forests without bounds, and then drastic efforts to right a wrong. "The owls are kind of on their last legs out here," says Christopher Mccafferty, a biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Corvallis, Ore. One sign of hope is that in Hoopa Valley, where Higley is implementing culling of barred owls, and Green Diamond Natural Resource Company is protecting nearby forest, northern spotted owl populations are stabilizing. "In a perfect world, we'd have 30-35 pairs," of spotted owls in the valley, says biologist Mark Higley with Hoopa Valley Tribe. As of 2022, they had 21.