These are massive, charismatic birds with an exhibitionistic streak who have increasingly moved to the city with their natural habitat under pressure

• The Guardian/BirdLife Australia 2021 bird of the year poll begins on Monday

For the past several months, I’ve kept a slightly uneasy vigil on a pair of breeding powerful owls in inner Brisbane, just a couple of kilometres from home. In that time they’ve seen off crowds of curious onlookers, and a determined eviction attempt by sulphur-crested cockatoos, to raise one confident and healthy-looking chick, which will remain dependent on them for several more months yet.

After that, it faces a much bigger challenge: finding and establishing its own territory and mate.

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