Monday, 24 November 2014

Hot Frogmouths

The youngest fledgling was on the same branch as its parents
There were some hot days in Canberra during the past week and the birds were feeling the heat. While I was checking on the fledging success of the Tawny Frogmouths in my study, I took a few shots of this family as they know me well and are quite confiding. The adults and the youngest chick were on one dead branch and the other two chicks were up in a nearby tree. The threesome were more discrete, the two others were a bit obvious as their white downy juvenile belly plumage was a bit of a giveaway when seen from below. Fortunately most predators would approach from above, especially Brown Goshawks, so they would be less obvious to them.

The chick was snuggling into its father's shade to escape the beating sunshine
Although the dead branch was a good place to sit for concealment, with their superb cryptic plumage, the open branch was exposed to the sun and the chick there was feeling hot. It was sitting close to its father who shielded it from the direct sunshine. All the birds were fluffing open their feathers and holding their bills open to cool down. This showed off the size of those big wide beaks - rather impressive.

All of the family were gaping wide to cool down - this is mum
The young birds had left the nest a few days before and they could fly quite well, enough to flutter from tree to tree and they were now over a hundred metres from the nest. They would still be dependent on their parents for food though, for another few weeks at least while their feathers fully develop and they gain stronger flight muscles.

The two older fledglings were sitting in a nearby tree - growing feathers are heavy as the quills are full of blood, so this bird is relieving the strain of their weight by drooping a wing

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