The last thing a pair of adults want is their one-year-old chicks from last year's breeding season pestering them. The closest known breeding to Melbourne city is around 20 kilometres out, so while there are some birds roosting in some inner city parks they probably aren't breeding. Gardening with Em: dams, ponds and tips for aquatic habitats, Gwen and Jeff Young plant thousands of trees to create 9-hectare haven for birds on their Port MacDonnell farm, BirdLife Australia at the Federal Inquiry on Feral and Domestic Cats, Endangered birds travel from Werribee to new home at Monarto. During the study, Mr Bradsworth and the research team caught each owl and attached a lightweight GPS tracker to their tail feathers for 40 nights. … Most owls are nocturnal and so hunt only at night, though some are active at dawn and dusk. Follow updates on this project as they happen by visiting @UrbanPowerfuls on Twitter. These owls mate for life, raising two chicks every year. This current chapter of research is part of an overall 20+ year story to understand how this threatened species is coping with increasing urbanisation, and the management actions that can be undertaken to benefit powerful owls. The chick call is suddenly echoed back to us. Roost trees and food — mostly possums — are not a problem in Melbourne, but they require a nesting tree with a hollow that is at least one metre in depth to fit mum and two chicks, and that's harder to come by. It is dark grey to dark grey-brown above, with white barring, and off-white below, with distinctive dark v-shaped chevrons. This will help the scientists understand how these magnificent birds survive in a landscape fragmented by houses, roads and noisy humans. The owls start to move from their roost around dusk, so the scientists have to attract their attention before they fly off to hunt for the night. The legs are feathered and the yellow to orange feet are massive, with sharp talons. The Powerful Owl is the largest owl species in Australia with males reaching weights of up to 2.2 kg and standing 65 cm tall. The legs are feathered and the yellow to orange feet are massive, with sharp talons. Standing in a dried out drainage channel at the base of the pine forest, Dr White aims a bow and arrow at the highest branches of a nearby eucalypt. It occurs from eastern and south-eastern Australia (east of the Great Dividing Range), from south-eastern Queensland to South Australia, mostly in large patches of forest. "They will actively chase their chicks away before they've turned one.". "The owls love to perch on some of these dead branches, so we will try to encourage them into the trees next to us first.". … Soon we will be requesting feather samples to be sent to Deakin University for analysis, which will aid in our investigation of movement across their entire range. The image of the unidentified owl was later confirmed to be the endangered Powerful Owl. In this article we find out more about how this knowledge gap is being filled, courtesy of Associate Professor John White (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)… Iconic, illusive and impressive. "No matter how many times you do this, it is intimidating holding one of these things," says Dr White. The eyes are yellow, set in a dark grey/brown facial mask. A powerful owl with prey. A Powerful Owl has been sighted and photographed adjacent to Woowookarung Regional Park. "And then they use those strips to join the dots between patches.". The sexes are alike but the female is smaller, with a narrower head. The Powerful Owl is a large owl with a relatively small head and a rounded tail. Even when owls are breeding, the way they use the landscape means it might become harder for them to live an urban lifestyle, says Dr White. Nick has given us some background about the project below. The Owl Land Bushland Reserve is home to Australia's largest Owl, the Powerful Owl. In a study of Powerful Owls near Melbourne, McNabb (1996) found a connection between habitat quality, home range size, diet and breeding success with owls in less productive habitat occurring more sparsely and breeding less successfully on a more generalised diet. "We better get the net set up," Mr Bradsworth says. "They are an essential element for powerful owls' survival, so it's really important we can maintain those trees as best as we can.". Despite being classified as threatened throughout its range, the Powerful Owl can and does, … It is dark grey to dark grey-brown above, with white barring, and off-white below, with distinctive dark v-shaped chevrons. Technological advances have enabled us to attach lightweight GPS trackers to adult owls to see where they travel to, and how they travel through the urban landscape. "The minute the housing density gets too high, and the tree density drops away, the owls go. A light breeze causes the middle to bulge out like a ship's sail. And weighing in at around 1.5 kilograms, catching one isn't easy. She stays in the tree for a while, picking at her feathers to realign them over the tracker. Once the owl is free of the net, Dr White positions himself in a camping chair and holds the owl out so Mr Bradsworth can attach the GPS tracker. We are thrilled to be working with Deakin University as they investigate Melbourne’s Powerful Owls. With its bone-crushing talons and huge yellow eyes, the powerful owl is a formidable predator. The beanie is very slowly removed from her head — and she launches out of Mr Bradsworth's hands. That's what a web-site on Owl Lands tells us. They also play chick calls into the bush.