what owl is this please?

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Subject: what owl is this please?
From: "Katrina Vogt" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 13:00:29 +1030
We live at Flagstaff Hill in South Australia, which is about 15 k south of Adelaide, in open woodland, mainly stringybark and gray box, understory composed of acacia pycnantha, grasses, hardenbergia violacea, plus the usual feral weeds; olives mainly. Our climate is roughly Mediterranean. Soil is limestone marl over clay, gilgais. Gullies cut by seasonal creeks.
In about October 2002 I noticed a new bird call in a gully that backs onto scrub; a chirring sound very like a grasshopper. It was coming from an owl...4 owls that seemed to act like a family group. These owls have white chests, darkish wings, white face, white under tail, dark owlish eyes (not like frogmouths).
They are calm, unafraid, and have a set territory from which they do not vary, and seems to be about 1 k square. Bird length is about 30 cm with typical rounded appearance.
The owls live in a backyard and as they wake about 30 mins after sunset, they sit under a pergola, before moving on. They perch on telegraph wires and gaze at people moving under them. They almost seem tame. The local magpies, however, are terrified of them.
I have been reading 'What bird is that?' and the owl looks like a barn owl, but sounds like the sooty owl. Any positive id would be great. We are very curious about these lovely birds.
We would also like to know if they will take food from us, probably mince.
Katrina and Laura Vogt.
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