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A Tawny tale

December 9, 2016

img_3311Arriving at the chook shed to fix a hole where a fox had got in and wreaked havoc with our hens, we discovered that someone had left a feather duster outside the shed – or so it seemed. It turned out to be a fluffy Tawny Frogmouth chick who presumably had fallen out, or prematurely tried to fly out, of a giant Yellow Box tree that overhangs the shed.

With the young bird looking very vulnerable and a fox known to be around, the question was: to intervene or not? Unable to locate a nest or any adult birds in the tree, we felt there was the possibility that the chick had been abandoned, but there was also a chance the parents were keeping an eye on it – and us! In the end we lifted the ball of fluff, without protest, from the ground onto the low roof of the shed, hopefully out of reach of any fox.
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After dusk we discovered the chick gone, but a couple of frogmouth silhouettes swooping low around us and emitting a soft ‘woop-woop-woop’ (rather than their usual resonant ‘oom-oom-oom’ call) indicated that it had not been abandoned. Next morning the chick was back in the same spot on the ground outside the shed gate. So repairs were again put on hold.
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A more careful scan of the tree finally revealed the rudimentary nest with one adult bird and what could have been another fluffy juvenile beside it. Further out on a limb was another adult showing its beautifully patterned plumage. A couple of hours later the presence of a second wide-eyed chick was confirmed as it had shifted position to be beside the second adult – see photo at left.

On nightfall our little friend showed it could at least get off the ground as it flapped up onto fence wire then the top of a couple of gates. Somewhat reassured we left it to its own devices.

After a wild windy night none of the frogmouth family were visible the following morning – not surprising as the nest was on the exposed windward side of the tree. But the fate of the brood is unknown. It’s a tough world out there and we can only hope for the best. But at least the repairs to the chook shed can proceed in time for the arrival of a new lot of hens today.

Click on any of the photos below to view as a slide show.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Vicki permalink
    December 9, 2016 7:52 am

    very interesting post. I hope the family survived the storm.

    • macwake permalink*
      December 9, 2016 9:31 am

      Hi Vicki,
      An update – after dark last night we heard an adult bird calling and located it in a group of roadside trees about 50 metres away downwind of the nest tree. Watched it feed a juvenile silhouetted in the tree, so at least one survived.
      Enjoyed your posts from Vancouver – great photos.

      • Vicki permalink
        December 9, 2016 11:45 am

        that is great news, I hope the others made it as well..

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