She has even had a research article published in a scientific journal, which her father believes makes her Australia’s youngest scientist.
Grace, now 6, regularly joins her dad — University of Queensland ecologist and researcher Graham Fulton — capturing data about owl species, including powerful, southern boobook, sooty and masked owls.
“I like owls because they are soft, which makes them fly quietly,” Grace said.
Mr Fulton is delighted his daughter is so passionate about protecting birds.
“She was only four when she started spending nights with me in the rainforest searching for owls and now she knows all of their calls,” Mr Fulton said.
“Like any parent, I love to involve my daughter in anything that I think is very beautiful and I find going out at night into the rainforest very beautiful.
“She got lead authorship on one paper and author on another paper because she spotted what the birds were doing and had the curiosity to follow it up.
“I suspect she is the country’s youngest scientist, I don’t know that for sure, but I suspect she is.”
Their most recent research was conducted at two sites, one close to their home in suburban Brisbane and the other in the rainforests of Mount Glorious.
“We were keen to compare how forest owls and other nocturnal birds do in dense urban areas compared to leafy, wild places like Mount Glorious,” Mr Fulton said.
“It came as no surprise that there was a distinct lack of owls in the Brisbane suburb.
“The habitat is just so poor when compared to Mount Glorious’ lush rainforest.”
Grace’s passion for wildlife is not limited to owls. She also shows a great interest in snakes and leeches.
“I like leeches because they walk funny and they suck your blood,” she said.
Grace wants to follow in her father’s footsteps when she grows up.
“I want to be a butterfly scientist,” she said.
Mr Fulton said he hoped his daughter would maintain her love for nature, though he would not push her that way.
“I will lead her to the forest and if the rest follows, then good,” he said.
The research has been published in Pacific Conservation Biology.
– ABC / Shelley LloydJump to next article