On December 4 2012 I heard a Southern Boobook calling at night near our home at Coutts Crossing, north coast New South Wales, Australia. On December 6 a pair of Little Friarbirds was jumping around on the branches of a Macadamia Nut tree in our backyard, harassing an adult Boobook. As I went to investigate the commotion I flushed the owl which flew to a tree in our front yard. The Little Friarbirds were joined by some Blue-faced Honeyeaters, a pair of Magpie-larks and some Noisy Miners.
|Adult Boobook being harassed by Little Friarbird 06.12.12|
It, or another adult, was also present on December 9 roosting in a Queen Palm next to our backyard with Australian Magpies, Grey Butcherbirds and Torresian Crows all nearby calling in alarm. A single adult was present in our yard almost daily from December 19 to 26. Then on December 31 there were two adults roosting in the thick foliage of the paperbarks in the backyard. The noisy activity of the sentinel honeyeaters drew my attention to a Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis in the backyard to the rear of our place. There I observed a fluffy juvenile Boobook. It was joined 20 minutes later by a second juvenile.
|Adult pair in yard 31.12.12|
Two juveniles on 31.12.12
On December 3 2013 the Boobooks were back. Three birds, an adult and two downy juveniles, arrived in the yard at 1955 hrs. The juveniles were making insect like sounds and this prompted the adult to flew over the house and into nearby bushland, obviously to hunt for food. I tried for a couple of photos but the light was poor so wasn’t that successful.
Adult on 03.12.13
Juvenile on 03.12.13
Four birds, two adults and two juveniles, were in the yard for the whole of the next two days being occasionally harassed by the very vocal honeyeaters and other birds. I was able to get some better photographs.
Family of four on 04.12.13
Adult on 04.12.13
Adult on 04.12.13
Two juveniles on 04.12.13
Juvenile on 04.12.13
They didn’t return to the yard after that but a juvenile was found alone in a park near our place
a couple of days later. It flew to the ground when approached so was taken into care
for its own protection. A search for the adults proved futile. If the adults had been found
the youngster would have been released with them. The juvenile was placed in a carer’s aviary with two other Boobooks of similar age. I placed a numbered stainless steel band on the leg of each of these birds on January 9 and released the Coutts Crossing bird that evening. It flew off strongly and swiftly and disappeared into the darkness. The other birds were from Waterview Heights and South Grafton and will be released close to where they were found.
Coutts Crossing juvenile on right 09/01/14
I could hear an adult Southern Boobook calling close to home two nights later so hopefully the young bird will reconnect with its parents or be able to fend successfully for itself. It was feeding itself well in captivity.
I look forward to the December 2014 visit of our Southern Boobook family.