Tawny Frogmouth close-ups

A while ago I worked on Walkabout Montrose, a publication featuring local walks and the associated flora and fauna. It sold well locally and as all profits went to the Montrose Environmental Group we decided to help raise  awareness of local fauna at nearby primary schools. Today I watched Grade 4 children meeting a koala, lace monitor, squirrel glider, blue-tongue lizard, growling grass frog, flying fox, Laughing Kookaburra and a Tawny Frogmouth. Having taught in primary schools I was delighted to see the students enthralled by the wildlife and interacting thoughtfully with the Wild Action Backyard Biodiversity presenter.

I swapped camera lenses during the session. The 15-85mm lens was useful but when the tawny turned up I went into bird photographer mode, changed to the Canon 100-400mm L IS USM and took some close-ups of its fascinating face.


Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)


Tawny Frogmouth


Tawny Frogmouth


Tawny Frogmouth – there is a hint, if you squint, of the bright yellow inside the tawny’s mouth.


One student told me his dad’s camera lens is way bigger than mine. Ooh, I thought, maybe there’s a professional bird photographer in the neighbourhood. I asked what his dad likes photographing and the boy proudly said, ‘Landscapes.’ Little bits of landscapes I guess, so funny.

I am fond of Tawny Frogmouths. I like their strange looks and their soft hooting call. I like the way they sit perfectly still in trees, perched at odd angles and incredibly difficult to see due to their ‘knobbly branch’ posture and amazing camouflage.

Tawnies are nocturnal but they are more closely related to nightjars than to owls. A sad number are injured by cars when hawking for moths in headlights. Baby tawnies occasionally tumble from their nests. I have found several bundles of fluff over the years. It’s best to leave them where they are as the parent birds will continue to feed them but if they are in danger from traffic or dogs you may prefer to return them to the tree or take them to a wildlife shelter. Lift them carefully and place them in a box or pillowcase and take them straight to the shelter. Don’t offer food or water, many beautiful birds have been harmed by well-meaning humans.

I once spoke at a meeting with a Tawny Frogmouth sitting on my shoulder during the entire presentation; I wonder if it fell asleep.

Happy birding, Kim


PS  A later post has images of a pair of baby tawnies Seriously Cute




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