Barking Owl rarity in Victoria

Subject: Barking Owl rarity in Victoria
From: "Martin O'Brien"<>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 09:20:30 +1000
Good to see the discussion on Owls from list members David Geering and
Annabel Hoskins.

Annabel expresses her surprise at the rarity of Barking Owls (Ninox
connivens) " some places".  The following  interesting and sobering
findings for the species in Victoria have been compiled by Charlie Silveira
(in prep.) who has studied several owl species in the State.

He notes that:

"A false impression of the abundance of the Barking Owl in Victoria has
resulted from frequent misidentification of the Southern Boobook (N.
novaeseelandiae) and its calls, the barking calls of the introduced Red Fox
(Vulpes vulpes), the calls of the Sugar Glider (Loyn pers. comm.) and
various other nocturnal calls that have been deemed to be the diagnostic
"screaming woman" call of the Barking Owl (McNabb pers. comm.).  Those
misidentifications have masked the extreme rarity of the Barking Owl in
Victoria; its population size there is estimated to be fewer than 50
breeding pairs..."

If nothing else, these findings strongly support my recommendation that ALL
sightings of Barking Owls are significant and should be reported to the
relevant native fauna management agency.  Maybe observers need to confirm
all there owl "sightings" in Victoria and convince themselves it was the
species they thought.

Ref: Silveira, C. E. (in prep.) Targeted assessments of key threatened
vertebrate fauna in relation to the North-east and Benalla-Mansfield Forest
Management Area, Victoria - Barking Owl Ninox connivens.  [A report by the
Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Natural
Resources and Environment.  Melbourne.]

Martin O'Brien
Executive Scientific Officer
Scientific Advisory Committee
Threatened Species Program
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
4/250 Victoria Pde.,
East Melbourne,  3002

tel: +61 3 9412 4567
fax: +61 3 9412 4586

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