Owl near Melbourne - is this a Boobook?

To: John Tongue <>
Subject: Owl near Melbourne - is this a Boobook?
From: David Stowe <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 10:12:59 +1100
Both valid points of view.
I think alot of people are pretty confident in their ID but don't know quite how to articulate it. Also a disclaimer about not being an expert is surely just humility acknowledging that, whilst they believe in their opinion (which isn't necessarily a guess) there are obviously always people out there who indeed are experts. I agree that the more opinions given the better and if you are shown politely to be wrong then you will learn. A wrong ID isn't always a guess but simply an incorrect identification. I do agree that it is more helpful for people to hear well written ID points such as Greg and Sean did (aka experts in my book), but such helpful answers are not always forthcoming. I thought it was a Boobook but couldn't have described it so well. So thanks to Greg and Sean for sharing the key ID points so clearly for us all to learn from.

Best regards,

On 30/01/2008, at 10:41 AM, John Tongue wrote:

Hi all,
I think Greg makes a valid point, but an alternate point of view can also be put. With some birds and/or some photos there is not necessarily a clear answer, and the number of different experts will be matched or exceeded by the number of different conclusions. Then I'm sure we all benefit by being party to the 'debate' about reasons for and against different ID's. I am happy to see a number of different people 'have a go', so that everyone might benefit from the exchange. Surely that is what good educational method is all about.

John Tongue
Ulverstone, Tas.

On 30/01/2008, at 8:07 AM, Greg & Val Clancy wrote:

Hi Cheryl,

The owl is clearly a Southern Boobook from its underparts that are blotched and not streaked as in the Barking, its green not bright yellow eyes, and the grey, not yellow feet. Barking Owl eyes give the appearance of 'staring'.

No offence intended but some members of this list have an interesting, but worrying, habit of guessing what a bird is. This must be confusing to the person seeking help with an ID as they receive a number of answers when only one is correct. May I suggest that if people aren't sure of an ID that they let someone else who is sure have a go. Unless of course someone floats a photo as a guessing competition.

I have had a key to Australian owls published, which I will forward to you (Cheryl) and can forward a copy to anyone else who is interested. Others wanting it should contact me off-site.


Greg Clancy

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