I have often said that the Tawny Frogmouth is my favourite bird, and my recent post shared my delight that one had been visiting.
But only one.
Yet this week I have had close contact for a whole day with a pair, the aforesaid male, and his partner.
On my way downstairs, I did see the large liquid scat on the deck; noted it was in an unusual place, but didn’t think to look up.
Coming back upstairs, I got a shock to see them sitting on the while railing only half a metre from me… and hardly suitably camouflaged.
The male was his usual inscrutable self, watching me with a slit of an eye open. The males are 20-30% bigger than the female.
While he is dressed in tones of grey, his partner is wonderfully patterned in shades of brown, perfect for the paperbarks near here.
At first they were facing in opposite directions in their stiff ‘I am a broken branch’ angled poses.
At one point he opened his big golden eyes wide, as if to say, ‘Don’t think I’m not watching you!’
As the day wore on and I’d had to pass by them many times, the female turned to face the same way. I felt bad for disturbing them, while assuring them they were safe there.
They were both keeping a narrow eye on me; she moved much closer to him.
These birds mate for life, which can mean 15-20 years, and share all the domestic tasks: nest building, egg incubating, chick rearing etc.
They were gone next morning but since then I have several times seen the female occupying the spot between deck and roof where the male had often spent the day before. It was as if he’d brought her here to show her that good dry spot, and also that I was to be trusted.
I can only hope they make their nest somewhere in sight.