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Boobook owl chick makes lucky escape

WHO, WHO? This boobook owl chick was found on the side of a road.
WHO, WHO? This boobook owl chick was found on the side of a road. Melony Barsony

THIS little boobook owl chick was found on a busy road. After rescue and examination, WIRES discovered that it had not been hit by a car.

It was very weak and dehydrated, with puncture wounds and bruising. Considering all the evidence, the species coordinator surmised that the young owl had been pulled from its nest hollow by a predator and dropped a long way from home.

A search of the area did not locate the nest or parents so the chick remained in care. It recovered well from its injuries, grew quickly and was eventually released back into the wild.

Southern boobooks are Australia's smallest owls and are found throughout the mainland and Tasmania and on some coastal islands. They feed on insects and small animal species. Feeding takes place mostly at night but some afternoon and morning activity may occur, especially on dull days. Most prey is detected by listening and watching from a suitable tall perch. Once detected, flying prey, such as moths and small bats, are seized in mid-air, while ground-dwelling prey are pounced upon.

The nest is normally a tree hollow, which is usually sparsely lined with wood shavings, leaves and small twigs, but may be left bare. The female alone incubates the eggs, but both sexes, and sometimes a second female helper, feed the young.

Contact WIRES for rescues, advice or inquiries. The 24-hour hotline is for all calls to WIRES in the Northern Rivers - 6628 1898. Call soon - Training Day coming February 26!

Topics:  wires northern rivers


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