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Night Calling Premiere Packs HEART 

By March 20, 2024Capes Foundation

A sell-out crowd packed the Margaret River HEART – Nala Bardip Mia last Tuesday for a rare insight into the world of the Masked Owl, and the tireless work being undertaken to understand and protect these mysterious raptors living amongst us.  

Hosted by Owl Friendly Margaret River Region and Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association’s Capes Foundation, the premiere screening of ‘Night Calling’ followed the trials and tribulations of local ornithologist Dr Boyd Wykes and two beloved Masked Owl families living on the fringes of the Margaret River township.   

In welcoming the audience to Country, Dr Wayne Webb, explained the significance of ‘Yornitj’, the shape-shifting Masked Owl, and shared some humorous anecdotes of joining wildlife photographer Steve Castan and Boyd in their early expeditions to track these elusive birds to their roosts and nests.  

Master of ceremonies, MRBTA Chair, Stuart Hicks, acknowledged that “owl royalty” was amongst the 400 community members that assembled for the event including: Edith Cowan University researchers Dr Rob Davis and Masters student Nathan Yaschenko; Environmental Biologist, Simon Cherriman; Eagles Heritage founder, Phil Pain; and Eagles Heritage Zoologist, Tara Finch. 

The skilful work of award-winning producer Sue Taylor was met by rapturous applause from the audience as they were taken into the night to gain a deep understanding of the magnificence and fragility of the Masked Owl. 

Star of the documentary, Dr Boyd Wykes said one of the greatest threats to the ‘Mowl’, as he affectionately terms the Masked Owl, is the use of poisons to control rodents.  

“Many countries around the world have recognised the lethal impacts that insidious so-called ‘one-dose kills’ anticoagulant poisons have on wildlife, and banned or severly restricted their use more than a decade ago, but the regulator here in Australia has yet to act.”  

“However action is being taken at the local government level. Night Calling is as much a celebration of a commitment to being Owl Friendly by the AMR Shire and our community as it is a call to action by government and communities throughout Australia.”     

Tara Finch from Eagles Heritage’s education and rehabilitation team said that Capes Foundation is delighted to be working with and supporting the Owl Friendly campaign. 

“A large part of our work is educating people about the important role raptors play in our ecosystem and the simple actions we can all take to protect them, such as using the least harmful rodenticides, like Racumin, and only as a last resort.”  

“The film also highlights the work that dedicated veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators do for injured and sick raptors and other wildlife.” 

The evening, which was supported by Arts Margaret River, Voyager Estate and Margaret River Beer Co., raised more than $2,000 to support Owl Friendly.  You can help by donating at and seeking advice on rodent control from the well-informed teams at Nutrien Ag and Mitre 10 in Margaret River.