Powerful Owl – A chance encounter…

Australian Owl

The Australian Bush is full of unique experiences, especially when it comes to our wildlife, and sometimes you might just find something interesting in your own backyard…

Recently, I was fortunate to observe a magnificent looking ‘Powerful Owl’ whilst walking the Warimoo and Sphinx Tracks at Bobbin Head, in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Janet and I think of this area as our ‘backyard’ and over many years we have walked and kayaked through this area, which is little more than 20-kilometres north of the Sydney CBD. And yet, this was a first time spotting for us of the powerful owl, which is Australia’s largest, in this location.

Although, it is a familiar bird for us as we have visitations from one into the local park opposite our home. In fact, I heard our resident owl calling just a few nights ago…

Following my sighting of the bird last week I made contact with Beth Mott, Project Officer for the Powerful Owl Project with Birdlife Australia who was excited to review the area and to glean if there is a pair that might be raising a young chick.

So today, Janet, myself and Beth set off along the track to see if we could find any further signs of inhabitation.

Janet and I were on a steep learning curve when it came to bird observation, but Beth, who holds a Degree in Conservation Biology, and who has undertaken a PhD study on ‘Animal Community Dynamics’, enthusiastically showed us many of the ‘telltale’ signs to look for.

Um, that includes bird vomit and droppings, you know, poo!

Beth’s enthusiasm was infectious and on our walk she went on to explain…

“We aim to locate Powerful Owl breeding pairs within urban Greater Sydney, which also includes Newcastle in the north to Kiama in the south and west to the Blue Mountains.

We also aim to identify the location of nesting trees and record breeding behaviour and success.

This information will help determine the critical roosting and breeding requirements of urban Powerful Owls. We are collecting data on diet and foraging habitat to gain a greater understanding of their urban ecology, as well as look at threats (causes of injury and mortality) within the urban landscape.”

We were surprised to learn that there is estimated to be only around 400 Powerful Owls in the Greater Sydney Region and around 5,000 in Australia, and that puts them only one notch above being an “endangered species”.

Powerful Owls have a slow; double-note ‘whoo-hoo’ call that is soft, but very strong and resonant, and which can be heard more than 1-kilometre away. And the most common time to hear them is when they “wake” to a new day, at least for them, around dusk…

So if you hear that sound, take the time to look around your ‘backyard’ you might just find a special visitor, and if you do observe one, be sure to let the good people at Birdlife Australia know…

Photos: Baz – The Landy, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Bobbin Head.

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12 thoughts on “Powerful Owl – A chance encounter…

  1. Mama Cormier November 7, 2017 / 12:07 am

    It’s so interesting to read about the wildlife in Australia. Thanks for the lesson on a bird that I’d never heard about before. All the owl calls I’ve heard here in the north have always happened at night.

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    • Baz - The Landy November 8, 2017 / 6:54 am

      Well for the most part you won’t usually see them too much during the day as they usually roost. In the hotter weather the Powerful Owl will “roost” down in the vegetation, usually around a creek or gully where it is cool. This time is now just past their breeding cycle and most pairs will raise 1-2 chicks. Cheers, Baz

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lavinia Ross November 4, 2017 / 11:53 am

    That is one beautiful owl. Looks a bit like our Great Horned Owl, minus the “horns”. Those are some powerful feet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mama Cormier November 7, 2017 / 12:05 am

      My thoughts exactly. I here them at the cottage all the time but I’ve never been lucky enough to see one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • iAMsafari November 2, 2017 / 10:19 pm

        Mate, they’re no joke….

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  3. Gallivanta November 2, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    A powerful experience!

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  4. Barbara Grandberg November 2, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    once again, thanks for sharing your adventure :]

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