Have you heard strange noises in the night? Well, they may not be what you think. The large Powerful Owl might just be active in your backyard.

Powerful Owls are an important top predator and are listed as Vulnerable in Queensland. Powerful Owls require plenty of food in their territories as well as large tree hollows for breeding. It is thought that a reduction in large tree hollows is one of the main factors in Powerful Owl population declines.

Powerful Owls have vast home ranges and depend on large tree hollows as breeding sites. These large hollows take hundreds of years to form and are indispensable to Powerful Owls, which, so far, have never successfully used nest boxes. Photo by Richard Jackson.
Powerful Owls roost during the day in shady, protected areas along gullies, waterways or underneath the canopy of large, dense trees. Photo by Deborah Metters.

BirdLife Southern Queensland is hoping to uncover how many owl pairs are breeding in the South East Queensland (SEQ) region, and what factors are related to Powerful Owls raising young successfully. BirdLife has recently started giving public workshops to teach people about owls and will be formally surveying them too.

The Powerful Owl breeding season begins in late March and extends through September. People may start hearing owls calling in March and April and they might hear them again in August or September when the calls of young owlets begging for dinner may fill the night air.

Hollows that are suitable for large owls often have smoothed edges so the adult owls and their juveniles can perch on the edge of the nest. Photo by Richard Jackson,

Birdlife Australia’s Powerful Owl Project is a citizen science project working to protect these birds in urban environments, and would love to hear about any bird sightings: just enter your sightings here https://birdata.birdlife.org.au

Early in 2018 in the Logan and Brisbane regions, BirdLife will be holding workshops on owls and providing training for volunteers interested in either surveying for owls or actively monitoring a pair of Powerful Owls throughout the breeding season.

If getting involved in helping conserve one of our most majestic birds is of interest, or you just want updates on the project please contact Dr Rob Clemens at [email protected].

This project is modelled after the highly successful Powerful Owl program in Sydney: visit http://birdlife.org. au/projects/powerful-owl-project to learn more. In other regions, the Powerful Owl project has proven to be one that effectively monitors this threatened species and delivers concrete management recommendations to help ensure the persistence of these owls in and around large urban centres. Here in SEQ, we are looking forward to rolling out this project.

This project is proudly supported by Logan City Council and Brisbane City Council.

Article by Rob Clemens
BirdLife Southern Queensland


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