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On January 13th 2023 we received a call from a member of public that there was a young bird alone on the ground at the base of a very large paperbark tree at the OzCare ( Port Douglas) residential home.

We went to investigate and found a little Papuan Frogmouth sitting alone with green ants crawling over him. We picked him up and removed the ants one-by-one. Luckily none had gone into his eyes!  


Mum and Dad were perched high up in the huge tree above their chick keeping watch and watching us as we went to retrieve the chick. There was no way they could have got him back up to the nest. Also, the tree was at the side of the road, a dangerous place for the chick to sit.


We looked up at the parents and the enormous tree and saw that there were no low branches to place the chick on so mum and dad could feed and protect it. The nearest branch was 10 metres up!


Frogmouth chicks are not birds that you want to take home with you as they need to learn to be frogmouths and to hunt for food and only the parents can teach them this. They are crepuscular hunters of small lizards, frogs and mice etc


So what to do with our little friend?

We noticed a palm tree with a basket fern nearby and decided to pop the chick into the fern for the day.

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It was easy for mum to see her chick and the chick was safe from cats and dogs and cars. So there he sat for the day! We came back later to give him a mouse for dinner as these little birds grow very fast and he had possibly missed out on a few meals!


​The next day we headed back to check on him and found him on the ground with mum. He had tried to join his parents during the night but couldn’t get back into the tree and they both ended up on the ground with mum defending him.


Not a good place for either of them so we picked him up and put him back in his fern for another day – under the watchful eye of Mum who had flown high into the tree.


He sat in his fern for a second day (pretending to be a bit of old wood ) and we took him mice to eat whilst we tried to make a plan. We had to get him back up the tree to his parents!



We decided to make a rough wooden platform, as similar as possible to a Papuan Frogmouth nest. They are terrible nest makers and just make a loose structure out of a few sticks. Their’s had obviously not been adequate and had fallen down in the heavy rainstorms.


But how to get the nest (platform) up into the tree?


We needed Superman… or rather,  Brody from The Coconut Hut with his giant green machine!!

We put the call out and Brody came charging out of the Mowbray Valley to rescue the little chick!


Brody checked out the little guy .....


.....and he was lifted up to his home in the tree...


He was placed gently onto his platform and settled down to enjoy the view…

Mum and dad joined him quickly and we checked on them every day.  One parent stayed close whilst the other went to find food.


Ten days after the rescue- they clearly liked their new home...


But eventually everyone leaves home and after another few days we saw the little guy with his mother way up high in their tree on a nice wide branch…. Just getting on with being a frogmouth chick whilst Mum said a huge ‘Thank you’ with her enormous orange eyes!

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