This is a tawny frogmouth. Technically they are a nightjar not an owl but they are one of nature's master disguisers. They perch on a branch during daylight hours as if petrified looking for all the world like a bit of broken old branch. Not only are they cute (well, I think they're cute) they mate for life, are excellent parents & even when the chicks have left the nest will roost in close proximity to each other. Why is it that all too often animals get it together so much better than humans do?
Yes, we have quite a few of them round here. I have to watch if I'm driving round at night as they sometimes huddle in the middle of the road, no doubt having just feasted on some stray tit~bit. They have a distinctive oom~oom like call but in flight are practically soundless.
These are another bird that need big old trees for roosting & nesting & I get wild because there has been a push in the last decade or so for people to plant natives rather than exotics in their gardens & that is a good thing but it has it's limitations. We see plenty of the pretty bushy things: grevillias, hakias, the smaller tea trees & bronias which bring the honeyeaters &
Image by Niall Stanton
parrots who are all nectar feeders. No~one wants to plant the thorny spikey grevillas or similar plants. Weeding round them is a pain ~ literally~ but these are exactly the plants the small song birds need for protection. Lantana, that introduced bane of the bush, is actually an excellent habitat for the fairy wrens & many of our tiny birds who find sanctuary in it's spikey depths. Similarly no~one wants the dirty great gum trees shedding a ton of leaves a day in the swimming pool. My issues with swimming pools in a water starved country are another issue entirely. We need the big gum trees (as oppossed to the boring old palms & smaller trees). The number of our bird species that nest in the cracks & hollows only age can bring is large.
We have left most of our block untouched. As the clearing & building goes on around us more & more species are competing for a share of what we can provide. The bigger, stronger birds almost always dispose of the tiny ones. Already the robins & flycatchers are gone. The quail still survive in the bracken (despite me having always owned a cat) & for now there are still frogmouths silently hunting the nights.