Slice of Life Tuesday - Wonder and Curiosity Courtesy of The Frogmouth

Yesterday, I had the absolute delight of seeing a family of Tawny Frogmouth birds in a tall gum tree near my house. Vicki, my wife had alerted me to their presence.  They were sitting quite high in a tall eucalypt  and had attracted a succession of curious onlookers. I tried to get a clear photograph of these intriguing birds, but they were positioned in such a way that a clear shot was not possible unless I was prepared to climb twenty metres up the tree…
This morning following my usual walk I returned armed with my camera  to see if they were still there. They were conveniently sitting on a lower branch and plainly visible. I got the shot I was hoping for. A lady passing by asked me if I’d seen the owls in the tree. I had to gently inform her that were in fact Tawny Frogmouths, not owls. She appeared surprised by this revelation and continued to her grand-daughter, ‘Look sweetheart, can you see the owls?’
 These amazing little birds remind me of Easter island statues. They sit in trees dozing during daylight hours. The flicker of an eye might be all the outward signs of life the viewer gets to see. They frequently perch on low branches during the day, but their mottled silver grey plumage makes them hard to see. They have natural camouflage.  They are fascinating. They are endearing. Even their name is great.
Three young Tawny Frogmouths snuggle together. The mother sat on a
 separate branch apparently having some 'me' time.

With their nocturnal habit, Tawny Frogmouths are often confused with owls.  The Frogmouth’s feet  are small and rather weak, and lack the curved talons of owls. They are actually more closely related to the Nightjars (the smallest nocturnal bird found in Australia).
At night a Frogmouth makes a sound that is  soft, deep and continuous -‘oom- oom- oom,’ They also make a loud hissing noise when they feel threatened. They have a tendency to return to familiar locations during nesting time each year. i look forward to their next visit.

Every time I experience something like this, I feel so privileged. It unleashes the curious learner within. There is no cure for curiosity. Once you acquire it, you have it forever. I am so glad to be under its influence.

The question arises, ‘What did you see this week that amazed you? I will share this latest small wonder with students I meet tomorrow when visiting Tarneit College in Melbourne’s west.

To be writers we must be observers. As educators, we are charged with encouraging discovery and curiosity. We can stimulate such things to develop if we, ourselves,  respond with wonderment and awe in the presence of everyday experiences. Frogmouth fervor reigns supreme!


  1. Being open to wonder is such an important lesson in our hurried world. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and take it in and for teaching us about these adorable birds.

  2. Being open to wonder is such an important lesson in our hurried world. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and take it in and for teaching us about these adorable birds.

  3. Wow -- what a great slice, Alan. I love how you pull us into the nature and your surroundings. Thanks for the photo. They are lovely little birds to look at.

  4. Thanks for sharing this this morning. I traveled away from the deep of winter to learn about something before now I didn't know existed. From the first mention of that intriguing name, I was hoping there wold be a picture. Just amazing.

  5. Nature certainly provides us with some interesting sights. How sad for those who don't notice. I'm so glad the birds returned to the tree and perched on a lower branch for a perfect photo opportunity.

  6. Thanks for sharing these little birds, new to me. I guess I would have thought them owls too, but the longer tail and no 'real' look at the eyes gives it away. Nice that they were still there for you. I do ask students to take second looks out the car window on the way to and from school, or in other places. Keeping "watch" can offer wonderful surprises as this walk did for you! Thanks, Alan.

  7. I have never heard of these before, then I realised that you are in australia. They do however look at lot like owls, and there must be some link between the two species somewhere, or do we just quote Darwin, that similar environments produce similar creatures?

    `Lovely picture by the way, and of course I share your sense of wonder!

  8. Moments like this are just made for writers to take note of and then bring alive for those who were not present - such interesting looking birds!

  9. How wonderful that you captured this, Alan. You're a true writer's writer.


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