Sooty Owls at Toronto!

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Sooty Owls at Toronto!
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 00:27:11 +1000
Hello all,

I've just had the most amazing experience in my backyard at suburban Excelsior Pde, Toronto (central coast, Lake Macquarie NSW). I'd just returned from a Hunter Bird Observers Club Committee meeting, about 1030 pm, locked the car and heard a very clear and close Sooty Owl falling bomb whistle. While I instantly registered it as a Sooty Owl call I didn't quite believe it. First I thought that I must have had a tape go on in the car.... no tapes running. Then I thought there must be a neighbour playing owl calls (unusual but just possible).... no more calls. Nextdoor to where I live has had 95% of its trees bulldozed in the last couple of days for a block of units and I wondered whether there might be a fauna consultant in there- a bit late I thought.

Then it called again, clear as day (or night as it is). No doubt this time! After a frantic search for a spotlight and a couple of minutes of scanning I found it in the top of one of the few remaining eucalypts in next doors mini lunar landscape. After about 20 min it flew into my front yard and managed to situate itself in some dense vegetation where I was unable to see it but was serenaded by it for the next hour. There was a burst of insect trilling for a while but it was mostly falling bomb whistles every 4-5 min. No photographs unfortunately but I got a bit of audio recording. While listening to one of the recordings I thought I heard a second bomb whistle in the distance just before my bird whistled. I'll have to check the recordings closely to be sure.

Sooty Owl at Toronto is very unusual- I've never heard of them being found so close to the Lake. The nearest nesting birds that I'm aware of would be about 15 km away. Incidentally that area has been heavily logged in the last few months. I assume that these Toronto birds are dispersing post-breeding birds as there isn't any habitat that I would describe as Sooty habitat locally.

Still, it was very exciting- a great and unexpected bird to add to the backyard list!



Michael Todd Wildlifing Images & Sounds of Nature
Latest Additions: Awaba's Masked Owls
Toronto, NSW, Australia 04101 23715

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