Powerful Owl Project in SE Qld

Southern Queensland is wrapping up its second season of Powerful Owl monitoring, and not surprisingly, the project which proved to be such as success in NSW and Victoria has found many citizens happy to help uncover where Powerful Owls are found, and how they are doing. BirdLife Southern Queensland’s Powerful Owl project is proudly sponsored by the Logan City Council, and was supported by Brisbane City Council last year.

People are welcome to tune into the project, or offer advice, as they are just getting started, and have many nesting hollows left to find:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/brisbane.powerful.owls/

Project Officer, Dr Rob Clemens has given us some background on the project and what has been found in the first and second seasons of work.


What is happening in SE QLD?

We need help from volunteers willing to join our citizen science community at BirdLife to help secure the future of the Powerful Owl.  Some research suggests that spending time in natural environments has health benefits, as well as the obvious benefits this kind of project has for owls. So we hope you can join us.

The Powerful Owl project delivers public presentations on the calls, identification, ecology and conservation of Brisbane’s owls. These presentations also provide an overview of the Powerful Owl program which has been running in Sydney for over 6 years, and touch on what we hope to achieve in Brisbane. The second hour of these workshops goes over the conditions of participation in the project, and formally sign up citizen scientists. Contact Rob at powerfulowl-bris@birdlife.org.au if you would like to take part.


The Powerful Owl is listed as Vulnerable in Queensland, and occurs in many different areas.  We have identified over 150 locations we would like to survey this year including over 50 where it has been recorded in the last ten years.  

What will the project involve for volunteers?

1.       All participants will need to sign OH&S paperwork, and paperwork indicating agreement to abide by the ethics and survey protocols of this project.

2.       All volunteers will need to attend an induction (the second half of our owl workshops) to sign the appropriate paperwork.

3.       Once signed up, volunteers will visit point locations and historic territories to listen for owls at night (no spot-lighting).

4.       Once owls are detected day time surveys will be conducted to locate likely breeding locations, and to determine if young fledge successfully.

5.       Mentors will include existing owl experts who will help with training and figuring out what is happening at individual territories. (please get in touch if you are an owl expert and want to mentor others)

Why is this project important?

1.       The Powerful Owl is listed as vulnerable in Queensland but we lack up to date information on where the owls are found, how big their population is, how that population is trending over time or what factors are related to breeding success.

2.       That information is required because the large patches of quality forest with nesting hollows are increasingly being impacted by human activities.

3.       The impact of human activities on Powerful Owl need to be understood in order to provide planners and managers with information to help protect owls.

How many owls have we observed and how many of us are there now?

  • 225 people have attended seven workshops on owls
  • 147 people are signed up and have been assigned locations
  • 73 Powerful Owl locations have been reported 62 this year and 11 others last year
  • 81 historic locations have been identified (3 to 10 years old), and more have been sent in
  • Active breeding confirmed at 7 sites so far this year, with four more suspected, and several others likely.

Before heading out to look for Powerful Owls, please contact Rob and fill out all the necessary paperwork. This is important for us for our scientific licences and for you to ensure you are covered by our insurance.


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