We report here the assembly of a northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) genome. We generated Illumina paired-end sequence data at 90× coverage using nine libraries with insert lengths ranging from ∼250 to 9,600 nt and read lengths from 100 to 375 nt. The genome assembly is comprised of 8,108 scaffolds totaling 1.26 × 109 nt in length with an N50 length of 3.98 × 106nt. We calculated the genome-wide fixation index (F
ST) of S. o. caurina with the closely related barred owl (Strix varia) as 0.819. We examined 19 genes that encode proteins with light-dependent functions in our genome assembly as well as in that of the barn owl (Tyto alba). We present genomic evidence for loss of three of these in S. o. caurina and four in T. alba. We suggest that most light-associated gene functions have been maintained in owls and their loss has not proceeded to the same extent as in other dim-light-adapted vertebrates.