Whoo cares about WA owls?

phys.org | 10/9/2017 | Staff
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Meet the first man studying owls in the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

When ornithologist Graham Fulton set off into the forest to count owls as part of his work with Murdoch University, he simply intended to gather data on their numbers. You see, no one had officially recorded owls here before.

Starry - Night - Skies - Owl - Calls

But, sitting under starry night skies listening for owl calls, Graham often got more than he bargained for.

He certainly didn't expect to be ducking bullets from hunters in the nearby bush. Graham assumes the hunters must have mistaken him for a kangaroo, and their bullets sent him racing back to his car.

Night - Skies - Track - Satellites - Heavens

He also didn't count on being seduced by the night skies, the track of satellites across the heavens and the beauty of the owls themselves as they swooped in with a silent rush of movement.

"There were glorious sunsets and beautiful cool nights sitting under the trees counting owls," Graham says. "It was an enormous pleasure—certainly better than watching TV."

Graham - Studies - Numbers - East - One

Graham was intrigued to determine how owls were faring. He knew of various studies showing their numbers were declining in the east and overseas, but what about here? No one had previously researched owls in the Peel-Harvey region.

Why not?

People - Dark - Graham - Birdwatchers

"People are frightened of the dark," Graham says. "There are many birdwatchers out there, but not many go out at night."

Graham visited seven sites in the Peel-Harvey Estuary on 42 different nights over a year. He'd often trudge well away from his car into the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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