For much of the last two years, one of Canberra’s biggest celebrities has been hanging out in our front yard – Haig Park. His presence has even inspired a new cocktail at the nearby Turner Bowls Club.
Drawn to the city for the fine-dining available in Braddon, this Powerful Owl knows where the action is. Pretty much every pencil pine in Haig Park, numbering in their hundreds, is home to at least one brushtail possum, a favourite snack. Add plentiful galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos and the odd dove and the banquet is complete.
The Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua) is Australia’s largest, with a wingspan to 1.3 m, and one of the ten largest owls in the world. But even the biggest are no match for nature, and the owl is forced to move from a beloved oak when the leaves drop off each winter. It takes up residence in a nearby pine, where it has been found resting on most days. For such a large bird, it can be surprisingly hard to spot near the top of the tall trees – remains of dinner often offering the best clues to its current perch.
Considered threatened throughout its range, the Powerful Owl is normally only found in large tracts of forests, but is occasionally seen in urban areas, including Sydney and Melbourne. Its residence in the same place within an urban area has offered unique opportunities to observe this rarely seen owl.
Read more about Powerful Owls here.