Backyard Buddies
Southern Boobook

Photo: Sabines-Sunbird

Southern Boobook

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Southern Boobooks , Ninox novaeseelandiae, are the smallest and most common owl in Australia

If you have a Southern Boobook Owl in your backyard, you will hear them calling for a mate during the long winter nights.

The official breeding season does not start until spring, but many boobooks are already serenading their partner.

Boobooks have a special call only for their mate. Their normal call is a simple double hoot, but to his chosen one the male will call with a typical 'pot-pot-por.'

If a boobook has not mated during breeding season from August to September, you may hear the exasperated harsh, unsteady call of an un-coupled male boobook trying desperately to find a mate.

Eavesdropping on a boobook requires patience. If the birds sense you, they may fall silent immediately and pretend to be branches of their tree, turning sideways, sitting very upright and holding their feathers as close to their body as they can.

Having boobook owls in your backyard or neighbourhood will serve as excellent pest control as they feed on mice and insects.

Boobooks are very adapted to urban environments and live in almost every leafy neighbourhood in Australia.

To welcome them to your garden, minimise chemicals which can poison their food and consider constructing a nest box big enough for a boobook family of five. From laying eggs to baby owls emerging takes about 10 weeks, and the 2 chicks will stay with their parents for up to three months.

 

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”Birds, bugs, lizards and penguins are my favourite Backyard Buddies – I like to find, watch and learn about what they do and what I can do to help them.“

Gus – 11 year old Backyard Buddy, NSW

Photo: OEH