birding-aus Powerful Owl

Subject: birding-aus Powerful Owl
From: "Paul McDonald" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 08:10:33 +1100
Hi all,

Finally stopped procrastinating about it and went to look for Ninox strenua at the well known spot at Epping. 15 mins after leaving the office and I was looking at an adult eating the lower half remains of last nights meal, a Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus? peregrinus (from memory)). Fantastic sight to watch this magnificent bird eat a whole hind leg in one gulp! Amazing! Sat and watched it (from size a female, but I can't be sure) for a couple of hours. After many attempts at finding it during the night, and half dozen times hearing their enormous call, to see one during the day was absolutely great. It was perched in the coachwood as I had been told, and was a very sleepy customer!

While Rufous Owls do look meaner, these birds have some serious beaks and talons, the size and thickness of the tarsus alone was incredible. And the wings!!!!!!!!!!! It reminded me very much of a huge peregrine, with the distinct owl head shape being the least obvious in comparison with every other Australian owl, in my opinion.

Just a note to say that this bird was definitely worth the wait for me, and to thank all those birders that made this sight known. It has definitely reinforced my opinion that if I am reincarnated as an animal, I want to be on the owl end not the mammal one!

Cheers, Paul
Paul McDonald
Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University, Sydney NSW, 2109
Phone: (02) 9850 8191 Fax: (02) 9850 8245
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