Dead Owls (was Powerful owl at Lane Cove)

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Subject: Dead Owls (was Powerful owl at Lane Cove)
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 08:50:56 +1000
My understanding of the population ecology of Barn Owls is that in Australia they are an irruptive breeder and migrant. In good mouse years they breed successfully, expanding out of the population pockets they had contracted to after the previous cycle of population expansion and contraction. The next year, or the year after, many birds, having wandered far in search of food end up starving. It may be that roadside verges are good places to hunt and that many of the dead Barn Owls we see along roads aren't road-kills, but are simply owls that died by the road of starvation.
I've probably seen more dead Barn Owls than live ones in Australia.
It would be interesting to hear from people as to whether they think they have a permanent population of Barn Owls in their area, or whether they are only seeing irruptive ones. I've seen Barn Owls around the ACT a few times, but not regularly.
Other owls, or course, are more sedentary, and the ones we see by the roads are road-kills. Boobooks love to hunt beetles on roads on summer nights, and many will come to grief doing this.
John L

John Leonard
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