Sunday 7 January 2018

Barking Mad

Several times a week, the birds in the garden get upset at something in the scrub. It could be anything - a tree monitor, a possum, a funny-looking twig. Lewin's honeyeaters are the biggest complainers. One of them (I'm sure it's the same one) will come to my office window and yell at me until I go outside, at which point it will then - and I'm not making this up - lead me to where a brown tree snake is dozing in the carport rafters. Since I am an advocate in letting sleeping snakes lie, the honeyeater is invariably disappointed in my response. I am sorry I don't live up to its expectations.

But one day the complaining was led by less excitable birds, including a pair of barred cuckoo-shrikes. So I grabbed the binos and went to have a look. If they were mobbing a big snake, I wanted to maintain a bit of distance.

It wasn't a snake, it was a barking owl. And they always look that annoyed.

Barking owls are one of three owl species that occur in the patch of rainforest. The other two species are southern boobook and lesser sooty owl. There have also been records of rufous owls in this area, but I have yet to hear them calling.