Polka was old for a Northern Spotted Owl. He died today at age 26 (likely from heartache, as his partner, Dot, died last year). Spotted owls typically don't make it much past 16 years of age.
The owls served an important role in their wildlife habitat at the High Desert Museum as their owlings went on to do great things. Some of Polka's offspring were released into the wild while others were sent to a breeding center in British Columbia. Polka was discovered in 1986 by a biologist studying in Corvallis and by 2000 Polka was calling the HDM home.
According to a HDM press release, Polka and Dot were the nation's only captive breeding pair of Northern Spotted Owls, a threatened species.
You will be missed, Polka.