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29 Nov 2018

The Parklands' Powerful Owlet is happy and healthy

Centennial Parklands is excited to report the arrival of a Powerful Owl chick, which recently fledged and has been spotted by visitors. This is the first successfully fledged chick for the Powerful Owl breeding pair within Centennial Park.

The fantastic citizen scientists in Centennial Park have kept a close watch on the owl family; and the Parklands staff helped to protect the nest site, ensuring minimal disturbances around the tree hollow during the breeding season. Powerful Owls are found across the Sydney region, but were only recorded for the first time in Centennial Park in 2014.

powerful owl, sydney, wildlife, centennial park
A success! The Powerful Owl is healthy and growing rapidly.

Powerful Owls in Sydney

These magnificent birds use a variety of habitat types including parks and gardens, private backyards and remnant patches of bushland, highlighting the importance of each of these habitats for Powerful Owls in urban areas.

Powerful Owls nest in tree hollows, and in May this year the Centennial Park breeding pair selected a large hollow in a Poplar tree. There were several anxious weeks waiting and hoping that the weather would be kind, and that there would be no issues during the breeding period that may affect the owl’s success.

Threats to Powerful Owls include car strikes, secondary poisoning from rat baiting, predation of fledglings by foxes, and the loss of hollow-bearing trees. Competition with other animals for hollows, particularly with Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, may also be an ongoing concern for Powerful Owls.

Thankfully the chick was fine, and by mid-June could be heard trilling from the hollow. The adult owls were observed roosting near the hollow and holding prey items in their talons including bats, possums and birds.

The Powerful Owl chick emerged with white downy feathers and has captivated our visitors. The young owl, also known as an owlet, was alert and taking in its surroundings during its first few days out of the hollow. A cute behaviour of the owlet is head bobbing! Many owls, especially young ones, move their heads around to help them see objects and judge how far away they are.

Reporting your observations

The Powerful Owl is the largest owl in Australasia, with an adult wingspan of up to 1.4 metres. The babies are also impressively large.

The species is listed as vulnerable across NSW. Powerful Owl sightings can be entered online in a few easy steps by registering as a Birdata contributor online or through their app.

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