Possible barn owl West Auckland

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Neil Fitzgerald
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Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Wed May 06, 2020 7:19 am

Unconfirmed sightings of barn owls in west Auckland (near Titirangi Golf Course) reported on RNZ. Nice to hear Noel asked for comment.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/415 ... t-auckland
Ian McLean
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby Ian McLean » Wed May 06, 2020 2:25 pm

Kia ora
This report is interesting & the reporter did a great job in including Noel Hyde; however, the witness account left much to be desired !
The initial report of a Barn Owl was originally made by Vanessa Burr & it came across as a credible possibility. However, the reporter interviewed Kathy McLaren whom had only made a comment on a facebook page. Kathy's account offers too many questions for example e.g. Barn Owls are not really urban garden birds, whilst Ruru are, she mentions a dark bird, whilst a Barn Owl is distinctively ghostly white. Also the attempted predation of a Kingfisher seems a bit too much for either a Ruru or Barn Owl to undertake & I am sure that even Falcon's would balk when faced with the sharp bill of a Kingfisher -but then you never know ?
Anyway, these are some of the issues when reports are made by facebook, although it has least made the locals aware of Barn Owls & this may be followed up by confirmed sightings & some pictures. I have asked Vanessa Burr whom made the original sighting to submit an Unusual Bird Report (UBR).
In west Auckland there is some very suitable Barn Owl habitat in places like Oratia, Henderson Valley, the massive Waikumete Cemetry & I will advise of any confirmed sightings come to hand.
Cheers
Ian McLean
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simon.fordham
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby simon.fordham » Wed May 06, 2020 4:10 pm

Ian McLean wrote:.... the attempted predation of a Kingfisher seems a bit too much for either a Ruru or Barn Owl to undertake


Surprising as it may seem, Ian, morepork do predate kingfishers. A number of nests on Tiritiri Matangi have been found to contain the remains of kingfisher.

Cheers
Simon
Ian McLean
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby Ian McLean » Wed May 06, 2020 4:27 pm

Thanks for that info Simon, we learn something new everyday ! I hadn't ruled it out completely, but it is surprising.
Cheers
Ian
Jim_j
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby Jim_j » Wed May 06, 2020 4:40 pm

I wonder of they would be adult birds or juvenile perhaps taken when leaving a nest hole?
Cheers
Jim
Ian McLean
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby Ian McLean » Wed May 06, 2020 5:11 pm

Jim, attached is a picture of a Sacred Kingfisher with bill pointed skyward as a response to an avian predator. This was taken by Ormond Torr & is from NZ Birds Online. I have seen them do this a few times myself & this had me thinking that Kingfishers are a very difficult prey item for duirnal birds, but I expect they are a bit easier to take from a roost tree whilst sleeping.
Cheers
Ian
Sacred Kingfisher by Ormond Torr from NZ Birds Online.jpg
Sacred Kingfisher by Ormond Torr from NZ Birds Online.jpg (219.18 KiB) Viewed 602 times
bombaydave2
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby bombaydave2 » Wed May 06, 2020 7:27 pm

Barn owls have been known to take birds in the UK. I have witnessed a barn owl take young pheasants on the ground and also saw another trying to catch something, we think goldfish from a pond.
fras444
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby fras444 » Fri May 08, 2020 11:16 am

Reading the article on stuff and rnz suggests that there is a pair breeding in Pokeno and a possible population of 200 birds in New Zealand....
I thought that it would just be a naturally slow spread south from Kaitaia. But I totally forgot that these birds are more than capable fliers.... Flying over the Tasman....

Now that there is a population in what has to be the ideal spot for these birds. With more stable temperatures, food and the expanse of grasslands and old buildings, is the Waikato where this bird will truly grow and become essentially established here in NZ... or even over the Kaimais into Tauranga.. nice warm weather and lots of mice and rats I bet along with many places to nest such as old milking sheds etc...

I wonder how long now for the barn owl to be like the White-Faced heron and the plover.... Also, it sounds like there are numerous crossings of the barn owls over the tasman over the last two decades...
A) would that mean that the genetic variability would be refreshed in the NZ population and....
B) would that but to rest any pondering regarding if this Kaitaia population was introduced/self-introduced-native... would the trickle/interruptions of these birds then breeding with the population here... Would that be in much the same way that the black swan was deemed native, not introduced, as birds where thought to have flown over the same time as birds were being brought over.
bombaydave2
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Re: Possible barn owl West Auckland

Postby bombaydave2 » Sun May 10, 2020 4:15 pm

Hi all,
surprised to hear about breeding in Pokeno. A few years back(will check) I posted an unconfirmed, second hand sighting in Bombay(not far form Pokeno) The observer was adamant hat it was a large white owl. it flew in front of his car under a street light at an intersection(area is mainly market gardens, lifestyle blocks) about 12 midnight.

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