Tag Archives: owls

Owl CSI—feathers and DNA reveal night secrets

A powerful owl studied by Fiona Hogan. Credit: Fiona Hogan, Deakin University
A powerful owl studied by Fiona Hogan. Credit: Fiona Hogan, Deakin University

Dr Fiona Hogan is DNA fingerprinting Australian owls with the help of feathers and a keen public.

Her work is transforming our understanding of the night life of owls, normally notoriously secretive.

From a single feather, this Deakin University researcher can determine the species, sex, and identity of individual birds. She has already found a pair of powerful owls who have mated together for at least ten consecutive years, and that those breeding in urban areas are typically more closely related than those which breed in the bush.