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Locals rescue baby tawny frogmouth


People often mistake them for owls – but the cute, fluffy, bug-eyed and nocturnal birds that live in the Edinburgh Gardens are the native Tawny Frogmouths.


Like owls, they come out at night, flying around silently and stealthily. They eventually return to their homes in the trees, and their genius is that during the daylight hours their camouflage is provided by their grey feathers. These make them indistinguishable from tree branches and allow for a relaxing downtime.


They have much wider and larger beaks than owls but have smaller and clumsier feet.



That might be how last month’s incident occurred in the Gardens, right beneath a tree north of Alfred Crescent Oval.


Passers-by noticed a baby Tawny Frogmouth sitting forlornly on the large, supine dead tree branch near the goal post. It was wide awake but appeared to be frozen with terror after falling out of its nest. Its anxious parents could just be seen in the tree but appeared unable to help.


Over the next two hours, the group of concerned citizens swelled to up to 20 people as they kept away inquisitive dogs and sought solutions on how to reunite it with its the family. First, the council was called, then a vet, then more knowledgeable North Fitzrovians were summoned to the park to consult. Expert help finally arrived in the shape of a volunteer from Wildlife Victoria, carrying a ladder and a cloth.


The young man approached the stock-still baby bird, threw the cloth over it, grasped the bird with both hands and then climbed the ladder to secure it in its nest and its parents’ care. He also provided them with a small bowl of water, placed in the fork of the tree.


Another Edinburgh Gardens happy ending.

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