The Barking Owl
Ninox Conniven Speninsularis
Barking Owl Retreat
Atherton Tablelands accommodation Barking Owl Retreat on the Cairns Highlands is home to Bird of Prey the Barking Owl. Otherwise know as Ninox Conniven Speninsularis. (Sub-species found in Far North Queensland, Australia) Most guests do get to experience hearing their soft wook-wook call. (Similar to a yapping dog) Just on dark the Owls generally call out to each other and can be heard in the native bush land alongside each of the cottages most of the year. The female Barking Owl also has a different call when breeding, which resembles a screaming woman, or as I would describe, a curlew with a sore throat. The females mating scream is generally only heard once or twice a year in August. Each August during their breeding season for the last three years, there has been a pair breeding close by a large Blue Gum tree outside the Owl's Hollow cottage. Hence the name. We have also obtained some man made nesting boxes to entice more Barking Owls to breed here. One is positioned in a tree out from the Dingo's Lair cottage, and another is located near our fruit orchard. In the 2011 winter we discovered a breeding pair hanging around the house. After taking many many photos of them I finally let them get back to their hunting. They were not too impressed with the spotlight on them although they stayed there for photos. You will notice one of the owls is lighter than the other. We called out to them and at times they called back. Barking Owl Retreat was aptly named due to the abundance of
Barking Owl's that frequent our property.
The Barking Owl is a medium sized owl that can grow up to 40cm in size. Their alluring bright yellow eyes stare you right in the face, and their white prominent eyebrows give them a stern look. They have an unusual greyish brown coat with white spotted wings and back, and vertical streaked chests. Their tail feathers are barred and they have light yellow feet with long claws for catching their prey. They hunt early in the evening and late in the morning. Many small birds, mice, insects, bats, small possums, and even rabbits are on their menu list. During the winter months they
are often seen at night sitting on fence and sign posts, or on the road (Hough) into
Barking Owl Retreat hunting their prey.
Barking Owls like to retreat around water and they are often heard around Barking Owl Retreat's private dam early in the evening. Barking Owls are found in many parts of Australia but are prominent in Northern Australia and are also found in New Guinea. Barking Owls are also found in Western Australia where we source our great tasting Barking Owl Wines from Millbrook Winery. The Atherton Birds of Prey show which is now sadly no longer operating here, but has relocated to the Sunshine coast of Qeensland, is home to 'Matilda' the Barking Owl pictured below
with her trainer and the Bird of Prey Show host Mark.
Below are some pictures that were kindly donated from one of our guests 'Katrina'
that works in a Brisbane zoo.
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