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Dr Cleary with Powerful Owl

Taronga Scientist Dr Grainne Cleary wants local Mosman residents to help her watch out for Powerful Owls.

Grainne’s call for owl spotters is part of the Zoo’s involvement with BirdLife Australia’s national program to gather teams of bird observers to locate and observe Powerful Owls.

This’ll help us understand why they are in urban areas, how they have adapted and where, and how successfully they are breeding.

We’d love bird watchers and enthusiasts to come to a training session at Taronga Zoo on June 23rd, where they will learn how to spot the birds, know where to look for them, and how far they should be from the birds to avoid disturbing them.

This will help the owl spotters observe nests that they find.

With shrinking bushland areas to live in, the Powerful owls of Sydney have been following their prey into urban areas. A recent Nine MSN report from the north shore suburbs of Sydney featured a bold Powerful Owl atop an unfortunate Ringtail Possum its had caught. The owls also hunt other birds and flying foxes. This is possibly a major reason why they are feeding and breeding in urban areas.

It’s estimated there’s up to 30 pairs in the Sydney region, with possibly 25 of those pairs breeding. However, the overall number is often over-estimated as they get confused with other owls.

Grainne is hoping her owl spotters will help get a more accurate number of owls in the area.     

To register a sighting click here or to volunteer as an Owl spotter email David at

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