A Bush Saga

Nature can be cruel and harsh as well as a constant source of wonder.

Recently we discovered a Tawny Frogmouth nest in a large tree close to the house. A day later so did a goanna.

Tawny frogmouth chick and mother,in nest high up in an ironbark tree
Tawny Frogmouth Nest

In spite of  the bush turkey, who kicked up dust and sticks  and butcher birds who swooped and pecked, as well as the owl parents and myself flapping and yelling in an attempt to distract and deter him, the goanna managed to climb the tree and reach the nest.


Fortunately the chick realising the danger heeded its mothers frantic calls and somehow made its way onto our roof, gliding more than flying, then taking up the characteristic “I am a tree branch” pose.

Tawny Frogmouth chick striking characteristic "Branch" pose on rooftop
I am a branch

Later the chick managed to make its way to a beam of the front verandah. The mother came up to me clicking and trusting for she then left the chick there and headed off to find a safe haven for her family. The male acted as decoy.

Mother Tawny
Mother Tawny

Next day the pair were perched in the ponciana tree at the front of the house. the mother left again for a time, no doubt seeking a way to get the baby to a safer place. She needed to as the butcher birds became aggressive and began to attack going for the chick’s head and eyes.

Mother and child taking shelter in the ponciana tree by our front door
Another stop

It seemed as if in a whisp of smoke the birds had disappeared. We hunted in the bush hoping to find that they were safe but not a sight or sound.The incident made us so aware of the struggle that goes on to raise young and the miracle of those who survive.

TheTawny Frogmouth chick closeup
Bush Baby

Two nights ago there seemed to be a distant, low om- om sound; the sound of a Tawny reassuring her young. It seemed not possible, and was discounted as wishful imagination.

This morning, as dawn broke into a soft pink fluffy sky, there it was ,that distinct om-om down further in the bush, gentle, reassuring and full of hope. The New Year has taken on a renewed glow of wonder.



7 thoughts on “A Bush Saga

  1. Hooray! I have such mixed feelings about predators, though of course it’s easier to empathize with hawks or big cats than a big lizard. The tawny chick is so cute! I’m glad there was a happy ending (at least for now).

    Saw a wonderful documentary recently about a naturalist in the US, in Florida, who raised a flock of wild turkeys. Many of them, of course, were lost to predators, but it was a lovely story, as is yours.

    • In a way I feel for the lizard too as he needs to survive. His markings are quite beautiful but when he was going for that chick, it was more like pure evil and he did hiss and use his tail to strike out. All the birds about loath him and he has a heard time as they screech and attack. they call me out to help chase him off. They know his capabilities and take no chances.Every afternoon the cockatoos collect around a tree he uses and screech at top decibel- quite ear shattering, eventually he dashes out and races off with a screeching convoy following.
      As for the bush turkeys,they are such quirky crazy fun and they too too lose so many young.I read that for every 250 eggs only 6 survive to adulthood.The goanna is checking their nesting mound so that this year the turkey population on our hill is not likely to increase.

  2. Aren’t these tawny frogmouth owls so delightful. We have them in our garden here in Tasmania – we mainly see them at dusk or very early in the morning before sunrise. I also saw the film about the wild turkeys as per Nancy’s comment above. It was on SBS tv last week and was the story was very moving with beautiful filming. We need more of these to watch! I am glad your chick is still around Christina.

    • The tawnies are magnificent and I love our bush turkeys too, though most people round here see them as pests.We have a mega mound by the back door but with the three goannas that trek by daily i doubt a chick can make it so the tawny chick is a miracle.

  3. Woo, whee, I was holding my breath there for a minute. You are strong to let nature have it’s course. I fear I’d likely be sending the Handy Man out there with some sort of weapon to rid that baby bird of the threat.

    • I was distraught but realised that the goanna had his territory too and is part of the bigger scheme of things. I did get the hose and try to dissaude but he was pretty determined and kept coming back.
      I heard the owls again today at dusk.By now the chick will be bigger and stronger and with wings developed so now has to contend with shrinking territory as man “develops,invades,pollutes and destroys habitat. That is possibly a greater danger thrown in with climate change and the threat now of fire as we are in a long and searing heatwave.So one little chick surviving nature is such a miracle and such a joy, a tiny victory and a long journey ahead.

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