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Tawny Frogmouths
Lens: DFA 150-450 Camera: K3iii Photo Location: Canberra, Australia ISO: 10000 Shutter Speed: 1/250s Aperture: F7.1 
Posted By: RobG, 06-12-2022, 06:55 AM

I found a pair of Tawny Frogmouths roosting together at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. These birds are owl sized, but members of the Nightjar family. The most notable difference in behaviour is that Owls catch prey with their talons, while Frogmouths catch prey with their bill.



Tawny Frogmouths
by RobGeraghty, on Flickr
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06-12-2022, 07:08 AM   #2
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Nice catch. The width and size of this bird's mouth make it more suitable for catching prey.
06-12-2022, 08:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeNArk Quote
Nice catch. The width and size of this bird's mouth make it more suitable for catching prey.
Thanks! From a distance, they looked like an odd growth on the tree. As you say, the wide mouth allows them to catch insects in flight at night, and the feathers around the mouth act like antennae.
06-12-2022, 10:51 AM   #4
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They are so strange and interesting! Our zoo has (had?) a couple of them in the free-flight aviary...so well camouflaged that I walked right past them, didn't see them at all until a docent pointed one of them out. On a later visit the docent remarked that one of the birds had been injured by a visitor <!!!> and had lost sight in one eye as a result. So sad, it really made me angry that anyone would deliberately injure any animal in that aviary. We haven't been back there in a couple of years (Covid closings, bad weather, etc.) so I don't know the status of the frogmouths today. I hope they're OK!

06-12-2022, 04:45 PM   #5
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Good catch to even be able to see them!
Angky.
06-13-2022, 06:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrchidJulie Quote
They are so strange and interesting! Our zoo has (had?) a couple of them in the free-flight aviary...so well camouflaged that I walked right past them, didn't see them at all until a docent pointed one of them out. On a later visit the docent remarked that one of the birds had been injured by a visitor <!!!> and had lost sight in one eye as a result. So sad, it really made me angry that anyone would deliberately injure any animal in that aviary. We haven't been back there in a couple of years (Covid closings, bad weather, etc.) so I don't know the status of the frogmouths today. I hope they're OK!
Wow, why would anyone injure a captive animal? Nocturnal birds really need their stereo vision, so a Frogmouth certainly wouldn't survive in the wild with only one eye. I hope they're OK! They certainly have amazing camouflage. Much better than Owls, which seem to get harassed by other birds all day. Frogmouths are a lot more common than Owls, and I suspect that one reason is the use of poison to control mice. Rats and Mice are preferred food for many Owls, except for Powerful Owls, which eat Possums (usually one a night).


QuoteOriginally posted by angkymac Quote
Good catch to even be able to see them!
Thanks! I've been frustrated by all the photos others have posted in local FB forums, but seldom spot them myself.
06-13-2022, 10:29 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Wow, why would anyone injure a captive animal? Nocturnal birds really need their stereo vision, so a Frogmouth certainly wouldn't survive in the wild with only one eye. I hope they're OK! They certainly have amazing camouflage.
I hope they're OK, too. To be fair --not sure why, it angers me so -- I'll not say that the zoo visitor set out deliberately to harm the bird. But, knowing what I do about the utter stupidity of so many zoo visitors, I can imagine a scenario where a complete idiot pokes a stick at the bird and manages to injure it. You wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, but we have more than our share of halfwits (being kind, my real characterization can't be posted here, mods would zap it for bad language) in this town.


"Amazing camouflage" is an understatement. Even standing a couple of feet from one of them, it was difficult to separate the frogmouth from the tree. Of course I tried to photograph it, but the result is sort of "trust me, there's a tawny frogmouth right there..."


Too bad you can't send me a Powerful Owl or two...I've got some possums that need to be removed. Actually I don't wish to harm them, I just want them to live somewhere else. The thought of trapping them has occurred to me (more than once), but I'd need to figure out a place to release them. I have humane traps -- it's how we got the feral cat colony under control -- but I don't relish the idea of driving trapped possums 30-odd miles out into the country to their new home.

06-13-2022, 07:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrchidJulie Quote
I hope they're OK, too. To be fair --not sure why, it angers me so -- I'll not say that the zoo visitor set out deliberately to harm the bird. But, knowing what I do about the utter stupidity of so many zoo visitors, I can imagine a scenario where a complete idiot pokes a stick at the bird and manages to injure it. You wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, but we have more than our share of halfwits (being kind, my real characterization can't be posted here, mods would zap it for bad language) in this town.
I understand. It's the same everywhere, I think.

QuoteQuote:
"Amazing camouflage" is an understatement. Even standing a couple of feet from one of them, it was difficult to separate the frogmouth from the tree.
Agreed! I makes them hard to spot, day or night. Their call is also quite soft, which doesn't help.

QuoteQuote:
Too bad you can't send me a Powerful Owl or two...I've got some possums that need to be removed. Actually I don't wish to harm them, I just want them to live somewhere else. The thought of trapping them has occurred to me (more than once), but I'd need to figure out a place to release them. I have humane traps -- it's how we got the feral cat colony under control -- but I don't relish the idea of driving trapped possums 30-odd miles out into the country to their new home.
Fair enough! Unfortunately I think they are a protected species, like most Australian birds.
06-14-2022, 05:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I understand. It's the same everywhere, I think.



Agreed! I makes them hard to spot, day or night. Their call is also quite soft, which doesn't help.



Fair enough! Unfortunately I think they are a protected species, like most Australian birds.
<gak!> Ah, too much blood in my caffeine-stream this morning...for an instant I thought you meant that the possums are protected!
If/when we get back to the zoo, I will be sure to check on the frogmouths. Given that summer rainy season has begun, it's unlikely that we'll make that trek any time soon, alas. The place is quite huge (about 750 acres), so one wants clement weather, which we'll not have for the next 4-5 months
06-14-2022, 07:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrchidJulie Quote
<gak!> Ah, too much blood in my caffeine-stream this morning...for an instant I thought you meant that the possums are protected!
If/when we get back to the zoo, I will be sure to check on the frogmouths. Given that summer rainy season has begun, it's unlikely that we'll make that trek any time soon, alas. The place is quite huge (about 750 acres), so one wants clement weather, which we'll not have for the next 4-5 months
Possums are protected in Australia, but then our possums aren't related to American opossums as far as I know. Is that the San Diego Zoo\/ It reminds me of the Western Plains Zoo here, which you generally drive around rather than walk around.
06-15-2022, 04:02 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Possums are protected in Australia, but then our possums aren't related to American opossums as far as I know. Is that the San Diego Zoo\/ It reminds me of the Western Plains Zoo here, which you generally drive around rather than walk around.
No, Zoo Miami in Florida. Basically there are only two ways to get about in it, on foot or by rented cycle. At one time, and for many years, they had a monorail that traversed the place, but I understand it's been decommissioned and no longer operates. Turns out the original contractor went out of business and they were unable to get parts for maintenance and repair, so they shut it down permanently. I understand they operate some sort of "tram tour" now but I don't know the specifics of that. One of the problems with the monorail was that one had to purchase tickets for it, after the (steep) entry cost. So most people didn't bother with it. As I recall, in late afternoon, near closing-time, they would suspend the ticket requirement in order to move people out of the far areas of the park. We rode it a few times, I always believed that the monorail should be free to zoo members (we are such). Offhand I don't recall ticket purchases, I think we were in the "time, gentlemen" crowd on the few occasions we rode it. Very handy in that huge park!

American possums are not protected, except in places like national parks, where everything is protected.
06-15-2022, 03:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrchidJulie Quote
We rode it a few times, I always believed that the monorail should be free to zoo members (we are such). Offhand I don't recall ticket purchases, I think we were in the "time, gentlemen" crowd on the few occasions we rode it. Very handy in that huge park!
I guess they took a design style from Disneyworld.

QuoteQuote:
American possums are not protected, except in places like national parks, where everything is protected.
Fair enough. As far as I know, Tasmania is the only state in Australia where possums aren't protected.
06-16-2022, 05:58 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I guess they took a design style from Disneyworld.
Disney's monorail has its own problems, but their contractor is still in business. Zoo Miami's contractor folded and the only way to get parts was to cannibalize existing stock. Eventually, that option became untenable. I'm sure there are reasons why the system was completely abandoned (indeed, they will be demolishing it completely). Unfortunate, as the size of the park really begs for some sort of transit system beyond shank's mare and a bicycle, but I imagine construction cost today would be prohibitive. My feet hurt just thinking about a visit, although fortunately the aviary isn't terribly far from the main visitor entrance.
06-16-2022, 04:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrchidJulie Quote
Disney's monorail has its own problems, but their contractor is still in business. Zoo Miami's contractor folded and the only way to get parts was to cannibalize existing stock. Eventually, that option became untenable. I'm sure there are reasons why the system was completely abandoned (indeed, they will be demolishing it completely). Unfortunate, as the size of the park really begs for some sort of transit system beyond shank's mare and a bicycle, but I imagine construction cost today would be prohibitive. My feet hurt just thinking about a visit, although fortunately the aviary isn't terribly far from the main visitor entrance.
The first monorail I recall in Australia was installed in south Brisbane for Expo 88. It was subsequently moved to the Gold Coast there it operated between the Casino and the beach, and according to Google it's still operating. A similar type of monorail was installed in Sydney but has since been replaced by light rail. I've been on a "suspended" monorail in Japan (to Enoshima) as well straddle-type monorails such as the one to Haneda airport. They don't generally seem to be very successful compared to light rail, but serve the purpose of minimising the land needed at ground level. I take your point about the Zoo. It sounds like they need an internal bus system.
06-17-2022, 05:55 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
The first monorail I recall in Australia was installed in south Brisbane for Expo 88. It was subsequently moved to the Gold Coast there it operated between the Casino and the beach, and according to Google it's still operating. A similar type of monorail was installed in Sydney but has since been replaced by light rail. I've been on a "suspended" monorail in Japan (to Enoshima) as well straddle-type monorails such as the one to Haneda airport. They don't generally seem to be very successful compared to light rail, but serve the purpose of minimising the land needed at ground level. I take your point about the Zoo. It sounds like they need an internal bus system.
My understanding is that they have implemented some sort of "tram tour" now, but I don't know anything about it...whether one has to purchase a ticket, whether or not one can step on or off at will, etc. If/when we get back there I'll know more. This time of year it's untenable because of The Heat and The Wet.
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