3 Owls found dead in 1 day in Chartwell





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  1. #1
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    Default 3 Owls found dead in 1 day in Chartwell

    Hi guys,

    Three dead owls (1 Spotted Eagle Owl & 2 Marsh Owls) were found on the same property in 3rd Street, Chartwell last week.

    Dr. S. Steyn assisted Owl Rescue Centre with the post mortem on the owls and the results came back as follows:

    “The Marsh Owl post mortem were mostly macroscopically negative, some autolytic (decomposition) seen. There were no subcutaneous haemorhages seen or any signs of anticoagulant toxins (Vitamin K antagonist). No visible toxins were seen inside the gastrointestinal tract. One Marsh Owl had an empty stomach, but in good condition, whiles the other one had a typical prey pellet.
    The Spotted Eagle Owl had severe wounds to the right wing especially to the propatagium. No fractures were seen but the tear in the propatagium were restricting movement of the wing. There is also a large laceration over the distal humerus and radius / ulna exposing the elbow joint.”

    The most probable cause for the three deaths is vehicle collisions. There was a veld fire the night before the three owls were found. We suspect that the owls tried to escape the fire and were hit by cars while crossing over the road onto Barbara’s property.

    Please be on the lookout for owls in the road when driving at night. We lose hundreds of owls each year to vehicle collisions.

    Thanks


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    Not nice to hear.

    In our area I have had near misses with Owls at night and during the day.
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    How do you suggest drivers alter their driving habits to try reduce owl collisions?
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    Maybe owls should alter their flying patterns .. what a vulgar thought
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    At least these deaths were not the result of malicious actions and were probably accidental. Still not nice to hear. Does anyone know if the breeding pair of spotted eagle owls in Kromboom Park (in Cape Town) are still around?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaitshi Gubib View Post
    Maybe owls should alter their flying patterns .. what a vulgar thought
    It isn't a terrible thought, if you figure out if most of the owls are foraging on the road or in transit across the road there could be mitigation strategies employed to alter their flight patterns over the road. If it is transit collisions then a sloped barrier on each side of the road might push them over the roadway. Something like

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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenD View Post
    How do you suggest drivers alter their driving habits to try reduce owl collisions?
    The best advice we can give it to be vigilant when driving at night, looking out for owls in the road. Stick to the speed limit in order to have enough response time. And then when you see an owl, hoot (excuse the pun)! Owls' hearing is very acute and they can determine the exact location of sound as well as how fast you are approaching. Flashing lights only confuses them.

    We have a project where we install hunting platforms to lure the owls away from the roads and to encourage them to hunt from the platforms instead. This project is reliant on public funding.

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    Default 3 Dead owls

    What a sad sight indeed, to see 3 magnificent creatures like this.

    We recently went to St Francis bay to stay with friends, and our outing to a local restaurant in the evening resulted in our best ever close encounter with Large owls on the road, (although scary), feeding on road kill. ( Sorry, cant identify the exact species), but the fact that we were travelling cautiously because of the pitch darkness saved us taking them out. Saw 3 in all, but once aware of the problem we were able to act accordingly.

    Actually ended up with scratch marks down drivers door where the largest one had taken off while I took avoiding action. It was enormous.

    Good info to hoot, as my natural instinct was to flash the headlights. Will know in future.

    Would like to add as a footnote that we so admire the work done by the people who have these birds interest at heart. Thanks for the wonderful work you do.

    For me personally, 3 misses was an excellent result. Would have ruined my evening with any other outcome. And theirs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty43 View Post
    What a sad sight indeed, to see 3 magnificent creatures like this.

    We recently went to St Francis bay to stay with friends, and our outing to a local restaurant in the evening resulted in our best ever close encounter with Large owls on the road, (although scary), feeding on road kill. ( Sorry, cant identify the exact species), but the fact that we were travelling cautiously because of the pitch darkness saved us taking them out. Saw 3 in all, but once aware of the problem we were able to act accordingly.

    Actually ended up with scratch marks down drivers door where the largest one had taken off while I took avoiding action. It was enormous.

    Good info to hoot, as my natural instinct was to flash the headlights. Will know in future.

    Would like to add as a footnote that we so admire the work done by the people who have these birds interest at heart. Thanks for the wonderful work you do.

    For me personally, 3 misses was an excellent result. Would have ruined my evening with any other outcome. And theirs!
    Thank you for sharing this story and for the kind words.

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    Surely the most probable primary cause of death in this instance would be 'not flying heigh enough' instead of 'hit by car'?

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    It seems like they are foraging on the roadside and take off into windscreens, so perhaps not flying soon enough is the actual cause rather than not flying high enough.

    Have you looked into early warning devices? As their hearing is so acute could something like a kudu whistle or similar not alert owls of approaching vehicles sooner so they get scared off the road slightly earlier and perhaps get off the road in time before the windscreen arrives?
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    Would rumble strips on the road surface work in an area where owls are frequently encountered?
    Sort of a "heads up" to warn them of oncoming vehicles.
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    If fast approaching headlamps don't work then I doubt that rumble strips are the answer.

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    I saw - in the check out queue of our local DisChem of all places - Canadian anti-moose sonic devices. Basically two plastic megaphone shaped thingumajigs, not much bigger than a matchbox each, and the packaging claimed that mounted on your bumper, they would use the wind speed to set up a constant whistling noise and alert any wild game, birds etc of your approach and warn them off. Anyone ever tested something like this? I thought at the time they would be useful for kudu, especially in Namibia, but perhaps they could work for owls as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    I saw - in the check out queue of our local DisChem of all places - Canadian anti-moose sonic devices. Basically two plastic megaphone shaped thingumajigs, not much bigger than a matchbox each, and the packaging claimed that mounted on your bumper, they would use the wind speed to set up a constant whistling noise and alert any wild game, birds etc of your approach and warn them off. Anyone ever tested something like this? I thought at the time they would be useful for kudu, especially in Namibia, but perhaps they could work for owls as well.
    Tony this sure is an interesting idea to play with. I think it should be tested. Which DisChem did you see them at? We would like to check it out.

    We have a project where we build hunting platforms away from the roads in order to attract the owls away from where they are in danger of getting hit. The owls sit in the road because it is easy to hunt from there - they can see far and wide when rodents run across. They also make use of the fence posts that border the roads. The purpose of the platforms is to give them an alternative hunting spot and in this keep them away from the road.

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