Wildlife carers have seen a 70 per cent increase in the number of orphaned Southern Boobook owls admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.
The species are widespread, yet are an uncommon sight as the nocturnal owls prefer to stay hidden, veterinary nurse Amy Deboer said.
“They’re quite common,” she said.
“You don’t see them often at all because they’re extremely good at hiding and they’re nocturnal as well, so they’re only ever out at night time.”
Seventeen Boobook owls have been found abandoned on the Gold Coast in the past three months.
Last year, there were 10 that required treatment, and in 2014 seven birds were cared for at the sanctuary.
The orphaned owls were aged between six and eight weeks when found, and are being gradually released as they reach three months of age.
“It’s very hard to reunite these guys, being a nocturnal species, it is often hard to find where their parents are hiding because they do hide during the day,” said Ms Deboer.
Southern Boobooks inhabit most parts of Australia except arid desert regions.
They prefer forests, woodlands and shrubs and have adapted to urban areas.
“They’ve done a pretty good job at living alongside of humans, but unfortunately they get caught on the wrong side and do have to come into the hospital for treatment,” said Ms Deboer.
The wildlife carer said recent severe storms, car strikes and habitat destruction were three likely causes for the increase in the number of orphan owls.
“There is quite a lot of wildlife at the moment who are competing for these areas, because there is less, so the more trees you have in your backyard and the more trees that we plant, the more wildlife we will attract as well,” she said.
Five owls remain in care at the wildlife hospital.
They will be released back where they were found in the coming weeks.