Powerful Owl Behaviour

To: "Alex Zorba" <>
Subject: Powerful Owl Behaviour
From: Chris Charles <>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 21:10:33 +1000
Great shot Alex. It is not often that they are seen in such good light. What you lost in natural light you gained in 3D effect.

As David said, it is not uncommon to see Ringtails out during the day. This becomes more common in summer when the young are getting bigger & the drey becomes hot & crowded. I have seen confident Ringtails within a metre or 2 of roosting Powerful Owls during the day several times. On none of those occasions were the adults at all interested. In one case the female shooed it away by noisily beating her wings against her breast. I suspect that your owl had dropped last nights possum & came down to pick it up. Chances are it was a male that will hold the carcass all day until calling his mate from the nesting hollow to offer it to her at dusk. I have often seen them with prey early in the morning, always headless, never twitching (the possum that is), & I dont remember finding a possum head under a roosting bird. If they caught them after sun-up I would expect to see some remnants of heads under the roost or see the bird flying in to roost. Also be aware that they may strike at you & a photographer needs his eyes.

Chris Charles
0412 911 184

33deg 47'30"S

On 04/08/2008, at 3:38 PM, Alex Zorba wrote:

Hi all,

I recently observed a PO in Brisbane and I have some questions about the
circumstances/possibilities of this encounter.

The bird dropped to the ground as I turned around, 30 seconds passed and he
flew up to his perch holding prey. I didn't see him catch or kill the
possum. The possum had been decapitated and there was no blood on the bird
or perch. As I was watching and photographing the Owl the Possum would
twitch. When it twitched the Owl would look down at it and appear to press
harder on the Possum. The time was 2:55PM.

As PO's hunt at night, this raises the question of why it was twitching. How long does it take for Rigor mortis to set in? Is it possible that the birds talon was hitting a nerve in the possum? Has daylight hunting been recorded before? Do Possums such as this Ring-tailed sleep in hollows during the day?
or just somewhere in a tree? What would the estimated TOD be?

There is more of the story and an image here;

I hope someone can shed some light on the subject.

Thanks in advance,

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