AN INFLUX OF OWLS
This year winter brought us some spectacular bird patients with many owls being brought into the Eumundi Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. We always see these birds more frequently over the winter months. It’s the breeding period for many owls so there’s a dispersing of youngsters from their nesting sites.
It is also due to the increase in rodent numbers over this time. You too may have noticed an increase in rodents around dwellings, seeking the warmth and comfort of indoors. As we all start to rid our homes of unwanted pests, poisons get put out and the best rodent control of all, owls, suffer badly from the poisoning. Often this can affect them suddenly and they don’t live long enough to get to vets or wildlife care for treatment.
Secondary rodenticide poisoning occurs when rats that have ingested a bait, are taken by an owl, and the poison is passed on to the predator to ingest as well. Strong rodenticide baits will do this. Not only does it kill predator species, it can kill non-target species, such as possums and bandicoots as well. If it is necessary to bait, always place baits inside buildings or in bait traps. Maybe consider placing a trap out if you are worried about a rodent. That way we can check the species involved and humanely deal with them if required.
Be careful of our native rodents as well. Not all rodents are the introduced Black Rats that have a tendency to invade our homes. Here on the Sunshine Coast we are really lucky to see Bush rats, Melomys, Water rats, and Swamp rats. They might live close to houses but prefer bushland grasses and grains and are not destructive like the introduced rodents.
But back to the owls, this winter we had the pleasure of caring for many wonderful species: Barn owls, Boobook (Mopoke), a spectacular Sooty owl, and a Powerful Owl, which is listed as vulnerable in Queensland and was a delight to see. We don’t usually see the two latter owls, so extra special to get both those patients out to release into the wild once again. The Sooty Owl had suffered a leg injury, likely hit by a vehicle and made a full recovery after weeks in care. The Powerful Owl recovered from concussion, likely also a collision injury and returned to fly free once again in his local roaming grounds.
Eumundi Wildlife Centre, at 1411 Eumundi Noosa Rd, are looking for new volunteers to help out with feeding, cleaning and preparing food for their patients. Now that spring has arrived, the centre will be especially busy with loads of baby patients. There are several shifts a day, each with different duties, however commitment to a four hour shift would be favourable. 5442 8057 or eellis@rspcaqld.org.au.