Hoot's Rescue Story
By Jaide & Steve
Nightfall, Lamington QLD
Precious Hoot’s story began alone in a dry paddock two valleys north east from Nightfall. Local fellow Bruce was out on his tractor when he spotted this tiny ball of silver white fluff. Bruce thought he had found a baby Kookaburra. Now this kind fellow has an interesting phobia... A phobia of feathers. Due to his fear he was unable to pick this little bundle up let alone care for it. Bruce called for his wife Janice to collect the baby bird and search for a nest and parents.
At the time when Hoot was found the Scenic Rim, along with most of the east coast of Australia was experiencing severe drought and wild fires. With a wild fire blazing only a few kilometres from where Hoot was found. Possibly her parents had flown away to safety unable to take their newly hatched chick with them... We can only guess.
Hoot then went into the care of Bruce and Janice daughter Laura who is part of the Nightfall team. The days Laura worked baby Hoot, a Tawney Frogmouth would come with her in a tiny little old foam esky, constantly making sweet chirping noises and sleeping in the shade of the birds nest ferns. Unfortunately Laura was unable to continue caring for baby Hoot. Laura’s 2yrs old daughter loved Hoot but did not understand Hoot was a wild animal not a toy to play with. This is when Steve and Jaide Nightfall’s hosts became Hoot’s full time committed carer’s on the 2nd of December 2019.
Steve began to research so as he could understand their new little companion. He figured that by Hoot’s weight we could determine how old Hoot is. On the 14th of December 2019 Hoot weighed 168 grams so most likely 5 weeks old. She was definitely a fledgling as she was beginning to use her wings to explore and catch food.
Tawny Frogmouth’s mainly eat insects on rare occasions they eat frogs, lizards or mice. Hoot’s diet is mostly pellets made from ground up insects and what can be found and caught on the Nightfall grounds. In summer their was abundance of insects especially grasshoppers which Hoot loved. She would consume 8-12 in the evenings.
Hoot has never been kept in a cage, she has a tree stump at the main building where she spends most of the daytime sunbathing and sleeping. As the sun sets at Nightfall Hoot takes off to find food and most likely a companion. From a young age Hoot has responded to Steve and Jaide's call. She would sit on shoulders as they walked about and loved being cuddled she is very loving and affectionate. Steve has made a roost just on the outside of his safari tent home Hoot comes and goes as she pleases usually returning at 5am for cuddles. Flying into the safari tent and making herself very comfortable with Steve and Jaide as they have a morning cuppa.
On the 28th September 2020 Hoot did her usual fly into the safari tent 5am ... but this time was unsettled was behaving like she was trying to make a nest. By about 6am there was a beautiful little egg. Hoot is now in season unsure of how much longer she will be with Nightfall Camp at the edge of wold heritage Lamington National Park. Her desire to find a mate will be strong and of course the Nightfall Team hopes that she does.