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And the SMS text message read…

May 28, 2013

‘The tawny frogmouths r back. Xxx trud’ 15:49 12May

DSCN1996So around we went to observe the new arrivals. Trudie and Len live on a property nestled beneath what is officially known as Grannie Hill, between the pub and Coonans Reserve, Flowerdale. When we turned up, Len stood us in the middle of the yard and proudly pointed up at the nearby tree. I couldn’t see a thing. After several minutes of an ever-more frustrated Len waving his arms about, we spotted the two Tawny Frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) (from the Latin ‘strix’ meaning owl and ‘oides’ meaning form) sitting together on a branch (pictured left). They were perfectly camouflaged. Given our difficulty in seeing them and the fact that, chronologically, both Trud and Len have at least a decade’s head start on me, I politely inquired how they managed to see the birds in the first place. Apparently they heard the frogmouths calling.

Young Tawny - still wet behind the ears - and everywhere else

A young Tawny – still wet behind the ears – and everywhere else

Tawny Frogmouths are not owls. Their diet is almost exclusively made up of insects and instead of actively hunting on the wing, the birds wait motionless until the prey comes to them. (That’s my kind of lifestyle – not the diet, but the mode of getting it). Tawny Frogmouths are nocturnal birds that during the day roost very close to tree trunks with an erect stance, beaks up in the air. This makes them very difficult to see. Like owls they have excellent hearing and eyesight.

So if you are walking in the bush and think you are being watched but can’t see anything, you probably are – by Tawny Frogmouths. To locate them, sit down, wait until nightfall and listen for their calls. To hear an example of the call on BirdLife Australia’s Birds in Backyards website, click HERE.

Tawny Frogmouths at Reedy Creek

Tawny Frogmouths at Reedy Creek

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