Keep owls safe this Owl Awareness Day

Friday, 4 August 2023

  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

August 4 is Owl Awareness Day

– a global celebration raising awareness of these much-loved raptors.

An adult (left) and juvenile (right) Powerful Owl perched on a gum tree, staring into the camera.
An adult and juvenile Powerful Owl by Andrew Silcocks

Australia is home to 11 resident owl species. From the small-statured Southern Boobook to the mighty Powerful Owl, Australia’s owls can be found in every state and territory: everywhere from the alps to the desert and across our woodlands, grasslands and rainforests.

Owls are mostly nocturnal and feed on everything from mammals, birds, reptiles and insects – and the parts they don’t digest, they later regurgitate as pellets. They’re also the masters of stealth, catching their prey on silent wings, thanks to their special, noise-cancelling feathers. And with their superior eyesight and hearing, they’re formidable predators, too.

But Australia’s owls are under threat.

They’re facing a silent killer – poisoning from lethal rodenticides known as SGARs.

Second-generation rodenticides, or SGARs, are powerful, slow-acting poisons that can kill not only the rats and mice they’re targeting, but any animal that eats poisoned rodents.

Poisoning from SGARs is a serious threat to birds of prey like owls, as well as household pets and other native wildlife. But you can help keep them safe – by avoiding SGARs and practising bird-friendly rodent control at home.


Tips for bird-friendly rodent control

Try snap traps instead.

They’re one of the most humane methods of rodent control, but make sure you set them up where pets or children can’t find them.

Use bird-safe rodent poison – but only as a last resort.

Choose a natural alternative or first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, or FGARs, which break down faster. Check the label for the list of active ingredients and choose only products that contain either Warfarin, Sodium Chloride or Coumatetralyl. Find a list of what products to buy and avoid here. 


Join BirdLife Australia’s campaign to keep birds safe from SGARs.