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Owls

General information
Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which then gets divided in two other smaller groups which is called families. One family, Tytonidae which involves Barn Owls, and the other family is called Strigidae, which includes all other owls.

They are categorised in two respective families due to the Barn Owls having heart-shaped faces and on the other hand, all the other owls their faces are round.

There are estimated to be more than 200 breeds of owls around the world. The main differences between a bird and an owl are the specific stance and the head type that the former possess.

Moreover, owls obtain outstanding hearing and vision in the dark and in a distance, that is since a number of owls ears are not symmetrical which helps them identify their prey despite the fact, they may not be able to detect it with their eyes.

It’s common for some owls to have one of their ears to sit a bit higher than the other ear on their heads. This gives them the ability to determine where the sound is coming from quickly.

Owls are mostly nocturnal birds which means they operate during the night. There are a few species that are crepuscular (active during the sunrise and sunset) and diurnal (sleep during the night and active during the day).

During their active stages, owls hunt for food. Most owls are carnivores. Owls are believed to consume approximately 1000 mice.


A lot of people think Tawny frogmouths are owls, but they are not. They are nightjars a completely different species.


If you find an injured owl

If individuals come across an injured owl, it is best to follow the following rules:

1) An individual must assess if the owl is severely injured such as blood or a bone is visible and/or there is a distasteful smell.

2) A blanket should be placed over the owl so it can stay warm.

3) The owl should be placed in a cardboard that has a few holes so the owl can breathe but should also be dark. The box must be handled with care

4) The owl should be taken to the local vet or at South Oakleigh Wildlife Shelter.

5) The position that the owl is in plays a major role in checking to see what part of its body is injured and to what extent. For instance, if the owl is upwards, there could be a possibility that one wing is held low, that would mean that the wing has endured an injury.

6) There are several ways to see if an owl is injured. If unsure on how to handle it properly, it would be best to get in contact with Michelle on 0411 600 591

Threats

As every single living life on the planet Earth faces daily threats, owls couldn’t be an exception.

The greatest threat to the Australian owl, is loss of habitat. They continuously, search for the oldest trees that have a big opening where they can breed and nest.

Loss of habitat can be impacted by cutting trees down, logging and clearing the land.

Australia is ranked third in the top tier of clearing the land in the whole world. It is estimated that by 2030, 3 million hectares of forest that is unaffected will be lost.

Land clearing is due to the livestock and agriculture industries.

The second most significant threat is poisoning.
Owls hunt down cats, foxes and rabbits who may have consumed bait which can affect the owl by killing it.

The poison travels through the food chain and kills the predators. It is believed that close to 70%-73% of the owl’s preys have consumed poison beforehand.

A high number of owl deaths are contributed to human vehicle strike. Since the owls need to search for their new homes, or their next meal, they get hit by vehicles.

In Winter of 2018, a humungous number of eastern barn owls migrated to find food in the East Coast. This activity, raised drastically the fatality rate of owls.

if you find an injured animal please call the South Oakleigh Wildlife Shelter.
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