Re: SOS - owl kills

To: "Alexandra Appleman" <>, <>
Subject: Re: SOS - owl kills
From: "Neville Schrader" <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 18:21:12 +1000
Reference owl kills, being a train driver with FreightCorp in NSW I have
found the best way to minimise kills with owls and nightjars, is too, as
soon as spotted, turn the headlight off and this also includes the fog
lights which are fitted to NSW loco's (at least the modern ones), usually
if they stay on the line (the dumb ones) you can spot them with the marker
lights, a short pop of the loco whistle shifts them. Ofcause there is
always the exception to the rule, they usually pay the ultimate price. Some
years ago throughout the mallee country from Euabalong West to Roto,
Spotted Nightjars were so thick that I left the headlight on dim rather
then continually hit them. Started to get a guilt complex.

    A bigger problem out this way (Parkes,NSW) lately is Wedge-tailed
Eagles, who gorge themselves on free meals, left by trains (i.e. sheep and
kangaroos) then can't fly and persist in running along the centre of the
rail line. Not much you can do about it when you have 4,000 tonnes and
travelling at 100kmph. Thankfully not all of them pay the price.

   Many birds of prey actually use the train to flush prey. recently when
working out of Orange travelling at about 110kmph a Peregrine Falcon flew
along next to the loco before striking a poor old Galah that had been
feeding on the rail line. I have seen Kestrels, Brown and Black Falcons
also employ similar tactics.

Fortunately you don't really hit a lot of birds, there is occasions, but
the mortality rate is very small when compared against the number killed by
road vehicles.

Neville Schrader

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