The Silent Sentry

He sits still by day, a part of the tree that he calls home.  His eyes are closed as he prepares for the nightly hunt or mere slits to quietly watch the world through sleepy pupils. When he does look at you, it’s with piercing yellow eyes.

At night he waits.  He watches.  Silently.  You barely know he’s there…waiting for a scurry or a flutter…

The first time I realised that we had these residents in our garden was by hearing their distinctive call at dusk.

I was watering the garden and suddenly realised I could hear the deep, low oooom…ooooomm….oooooom coming from the nearby gum tree.  Upon closer inspection, there they were – a pair of Tawny Frogmouth birds.

Part of the Nightjar family and closely related to owls, Tawny Frogmouths (Podargus strigoides)  are the silent sentries of our landscape.  Perched noiselessly and with amazing camouflage, these fascinating birds wait patiently for night to fall when little rodents scurry and big moths flutter by.

They perch unseen by day due to their highly effective camouflage and amazing ability to be completely still, so close to invisible that only the keenest eyes will spot them.  Unless it is giving itself away by calling at dusk!

At White Stone Farm, you can catch a glimpse of them at night, perched on the branch of a young tree, the fence of the veggie patch or the roof edge, patiently waiting to pounce on unsuspecting prey.  How lucky we are to have such vigilant rodent and insect predators!  They are most welcome and we feel privileged that they have chosen to base themselves so close to our own home.

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