Observations of Powerful Owls, Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne

To: birding-aus <>, Geoff <>, Ian Rainbow <>, Graham Beal <>, Euan Fothergill <>, Keith Johnson <>, Ken Harris <>, Mark Fanthorpe <>, Laurie Living <>
Subject: Observations of Powerful Owls, Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne
From: Laurie Living <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 18:47:50 +1000

Tonight about 5.30pm I was watching a pair of Powerful Owls in some 'feeding and nesting behaviour' when I was fortunate to observe a 'new' event, that is, for me.

The female was calling near the nest tree and when the male responded and flew in near by, she flew over and joined him. At this point there is usually some further communication, preening, mating and sharing of any food the male may have left over from his snack of the previous night.

There was some very fine rustling in the upper canopy near the nest tree, which prompted the female to fly back and aggressively land on a branch in front of a somewhat startled brush-tailed possum. Some glaring followed and the possum changed direction and moved away, continuing to feed in the eucalypts... While I was watching there was no attempt by the Powerful Owl to prey upon the possum.

Now while this might seem like 'meals on wheels' brought right to the door, it seems that brushies are not as much of a treat as gliders or ring-tailed possums and I have seldom seen them in the clutches of daily roosting Powerful Owls. And perhaps the owl had just been satisfied with some better food [and sex] from the male. Any comment?

About four weeks ago I was checking for the owls just before dark and found a freshly killed and mostly uneaten ringtailed possum near a roost tree. I assumed the prey had fallen accidentally from the owl's clutches and the owl had been unable to find it.

While I was looking for the highest point to hang the possum, hoping to return the meal to the needy, one of the owls flew in, stared at me and the possum with some challenging head rolls, and after I moved well away flew closer for an inspection. At the point I left the scene to reduce any stress and distrubance, and was happy to see that the ringtail was no longer in the fork of the tree the next day.

Laurie Living

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