Seeking Melbourne Powerful Owl Sightings
Birdlife Australia is working with Deakin University, which has investigated the impact of urbanisation on apex predators by using Melbourne powerful owls as a case study for 20+ years. There is however, a major knowledge gap in our understanding of how powerful owls utilise and move through both urban and forest environments in search for prey, shelter, mates and hollow locations. This significantly compromises our ability to develop clear habitat management strategies for powerful owls to persist, long-term, in increasingly urbanised environments.
This current research aims to further develop our understanding of urban powerful owl movement ecology through fine-scale, lightweight tracking technology and genetic approaches. Specifically, this research will investigate: a) how apex predators move through the urban landscape of Greater Melbourne; b) the spatial requirements of urban powerful owls; c) the dispersal movements of juvenile powerful owls in Greater Melbourne; and d) the relatedness of powerful owls via genetic sequencing.
Citizen scientists, people like yourselves, have proven to be a fundamental resource contributing to the success of this research by sharing their local powerful owl knowledge. This knowledge, no matter how extensive, can result in on-ground conservation management benefiting an urban threatened species.
How you can help
Please lodge your Greater Melbourne powerful owl sightings with BirdLife Australia. Before you lodge a sighting, it is also worth familiarising yourself with other, more common urban nocturnal birds which you may have confused for a powerful owl. Double check images of tawny frogmouths and southern boobooks, just to be 100% sure! Learn more about owl ID.
You can lodge your sightings one of two ways:
1. Through Birdata (Recommended)
2. By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details: the time and date of the sighting, a specific location (GPS or street address), a photo (please refrain from using flash photography), and any other information which may be of interest (i.e. behaviour, prey species, other owls present).
Distinguishing the Powerful Owl from other birds
Powerful Owls are frequently confused with other nocturnal birds, in particular the Tawny Frogmouth (far left), and the Southern Boobook (middle). Powerful Owls as their name suggests, are larger more robust owls (far right).
Written by Deakin University PhD student Nick Bradsworth.
Photos: Nick Bradsworth