Re: Bird Bloopers

To: <>
Subject: Re: Bird Bloopers
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 15:54:37 +1100
Hi All,

A single Powerful Owl had been recorded roosting by day in bushland adjacent
to a major construction site in the Ryde/Lane Cove area of Sydney. The
edge of the construction envelope was only 40 m from where the owl had been
recorded roosting so, quite understandably, some local residents were
concerned that construction activities (which were 18 hrs/day) would disturb
both roosting and foraging behaviours of this owl.

This led to me being contracted by the construction company to monitor the
use of the bushland by this and possibly other Powerful Owls over a period
of several months as partial means of addressing the concerns of the public.
The Powerful Owl in question was a young male which did not appear to have a
mate or be part of a family group during the period of investigation.  It
continued to use the same roost site nightly for the 1st month of surveys,
after which it disappeared. Four more months of surveys went by without
encountering the owl at this roost site.

Eventually the time came for the construction company to begin its work. At
this point I was asked to educate the construction workers about Powerful
Owls (habitat requirements, general ecology, how to identify them by sight
and sound, etc) as part of their worksite induction. Towards the end of the
induction session I took the workers for a stroll through the bushland to
show them where the owl had been roosting previously. On the way to this 
site I said to them confidently "we will not see the bird because it has 
not been there for the last 4 months, but it is useful to
identify the area that should not be disturbed". Famous last words - within 2
minutes of uttering them we arrived at the site and there was the roosting
Powerful Owl with a partially eaten possum in its talons! The construction
workers were highly amused and I was a little red-faced. The timing of its
return could not have been better timed!

Two years down the track and the construction project has just been
completed. A single Powerful Owl (possibly the same one) still uses that 
same roost site on and off.  If it is the same bird, then it still doesn't
seem to have a mate.

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde, NSW

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