The Thinking Woman's Diary

Boobook...

Written: 29th Oct 2015  | Last Updated: 29th Oct 2015

Photo: Perth Zoo

In the deep of night, sometimes I wake up. Perhaps to answer the call of nature, or because the wind has strengthened, or maybe because a car alarm has gone off next-door. But recently, my midnight wake-ups have been initiated by the gentle, slightly forlorn “woo-hoo” of a Boobook owl.

The Boobook is Australia’s smallest owl, and also its most common. While its preferred habitat is eucalyptus forest, woodland and sometimes open desert, it also regularly resides in suburban gardens, particularly where eucalypts make up part of the flora. 

It roosts in a hollow tree and hunts at night, with a wide variety of creatures in its diet - mice, moths, small birds, beetles, crickets, frogs and even bats. It is quite a clever hunter, apparently, catching flying prey mid-air and ground prey with a measured pounce. (Our resident Boobook is most welcome to all rodents and bats, but I hope he or she goes easy on our little birds!)

The “woo-hoo” I hear is soft and shy, with a slight pause between repetitions. And while it’s not a passionate call, it may very well be a call for passion! Hopefully, our Boobook will find a mate and produce some young...that would be fun.