Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Almost goodbye to Tawny frog-mouth baby

The tawny frog-mouth chick is growing daily. While it still needs to learn to sleep during the day, and to practice its 'pretending to be a log' routine a little more, this babe is close to the time when it will fly away to make a life of its own, leaving the parent birds to hatch a second family.

The frog-mouths are acutely attuned to the weather. To my knowledge they have at least three varying situations where they roost during the day. One can tell which way the wind will blow just by ascertaining where they spend the day.

Their most popular residence is the old gum tree over the way ... the gum tree that looks as if its days are numbered as several branches are bare. Never mind ... the frog-mouths like the forked branches, settling down for the day on two near the trunk. Sometimes, when the wind comes from the opposite direction they choose the rear bedroom ... the branch from the other side of the trunk.

Yesterday they perched outside the kitchen door on the branches they occupied during two or three months of winter. The wind was strong yesterday, but their perch was relatively sheltered.

Today they moved to their shady motel behind the laundry. There the shade of the house, plus a greater abundance of larger trees helps keep the temperature down, though at the moment [temperature at 40 degrees] their wings are puffed out in an attempt to keep cool.

Tomorrow? I don't know.

I am aware, however, that the days this chick stays home with its parents are numbered. Soon it will be taken away, and the age-old caper of reproduction will recommence.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tawny Frog-Mouths and Blue Tongues

Almost daily the blue tongue lizards roam our, and their, area. The larger two frequently wander indoors, their tongues flicking in and out in search for a tasty morsel. The two smaller lizards are not as opportune, though occasionally wander through the kitchen. They all appear to realise that we are friends, not foe. Dave no longer picks them up as they really didn't appreciate the handling, even though it was meant kindly. Instead we set out small pieces of food [they love Granny Smith apples chopped into small pieces], and scraps of meat off-cuts. Bread isn't all that popular, though they do condescend to eat that once the meat or fruit has disappeared.

The larger two lizards show little fear and the other day as I sat at the computer one almost walked over the top of my feet. I noticed it first! I moved!

Ever since I have lived in the mid-west we have watched the tawny frog-mouths raise their families. Last year it did seem as though one of the adults had died; only one adult sat on two eggs, both of which hatched out, but the babies died within two days.

Anxiously I watched the lone adult. Would he/she find another mate? Weeks later it did. For weeks over the winter the couple perched in a tree just outside our back door. One day they disappeared; they didn't come back.

I wasn't worried about their none-appearance as I assumed; rightly as it has turned out; they were adding to the tawny frog-mouth population. Just on daylight one day last week we heard the tell-tale noise of the owls calling. Bed time!

I searched the trees. Two adults, and one young frog-mouth sat in a gum tree.

If we take particular notice of the perching habits of tawny frog-mouths during the day, we can tell if the wind will be strong [the youngster is then placed securely between the parents], or from which direction the wind will come.

Soon this youngster will be taken away to find it's own place in the world, and another brood will hatch. Maybe there will be two chicks again this time?