GIVING TWO HOOTS - OWLS TO MAKE NEW HOMES AROUND MACKAY

Reef Catchments and BirdLife Mackay have teamed up to create new nesting boxes for the vulnerable Masked Owls in the Mackay region.

Masked Owls, along with many additional species, typically use tree hollows for nesting, which can only form in old trees. However, broad scale clearing in this region to accommodate houses, farms, roads and other infrastructure, has meant that many of the older trees have been lost. As a result, it is more difficult for our native species to find nesting spaces.

Cue Reef Catchments, who, with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, were able to action the construction of two owl-sized nesting boxes.

Two nesting boxes have been installed. The first is in the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park, set up with invaluable assistance from park manager Ben Atherton. A second nesting box is within the Pilchowski Reserve at Seaforth, with thanks going to Woody’s Tree Services for the installation. The boxes will be monitored closely by motion-activated cameras to make sure that no pest species, such as Indian Mynas, will benefit from the artificial tree hollows.

   Masked Owls are a nationally significant species listed as vulnerable in Queensland (under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) . Their threatened status is largely because of the broad scale loss of habitat. Reef Catchments is enhancing remnant vegetation and providing new nesting boxes for Masked Owls in order to best protect the species in our local area.

For more information on Masked Owls visit http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/masked-owl

Media contact: Tegan McBride | 07 4868 4213 | 0438 726 226 | tegan.mcbride@reefcatchments.com