BirdLife Townsville Project: Rufous Owl Nesting Boxes
On the 3rd of February 2011, category 5 Cyclone Yassi crossed the Queensland coast at Mission Beach, with winds measuring 290 km/hr and a storm surge of 7m, causing extensive damage from Innisfail to Townsville, with the final cost being $3.5 billion, making Yassi the costliest cyclone recorded in Australian history. The Townsville region experienced major vegetation damage, with many old trees that had suitable nesting hollows being the major casualty.
Since Yassi, BirdLife Townsville has observed a marked decline in the sighting of the Rufous Owl and the speculation is this may have been because of the loss of suitable nesting hollows. On that basis in 2016, the Branch applied successfully for a grant from NQ Dry Tropics to manufacture and install Nesting Boxes in suitable areas within the Townsville region.
Plans for the Nesting Boxes were obtained and the Townsville Men's Shed was commissioned to build them and after a suitable length of time (to allow for the Boxes to be well and truly seasoned) the Boxes were installed. Our thanks also go to Adam Cozzitorto owner and Arborist from "Skilled Trees" who generously donated his time to the difficult job of installing the Boxes in suitable trees.
To date we have not been successful in observing any Rufous Owls at the Boxes, but a number of Possums seem to have made them their home. Time will tell !!
Image: Adam Cozzitorto owner and Arborist from "Skilled Trees"
BirdLIfe Townsville Secretary