Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

Turramurra - Tawny Frogmouth
Turramurra was hand-raised at Taronga Zoo by an animal husbandry trained Senior Education Officer. In September 1999, when Turramurra was 2-3 weeks old, he had fallen out of a tree in a backyard in the New South Wales suburb of Turramurra, hence his name. He was found on the ground by the home owner who noticed the mother was in the nest of a huge tree sitting on another chick. 

Turramurra was then brought to the Wildlife Clinic at Taronga Zoo where he was hand-raised for two months. Each night his carer would take him home with her and each day he would live in the Education Centre Office. Turramurra was fed young dead mice (sometimes referred to as ‘pinkies') just like the natural mother would for her young. As he grew older he was able to eat larger food including crickets - Turramurra had a very good appetite! Young Tawny Frogmouths look like little balls of cotton wool, in fact, on Turramurra's medical records one Zookeeper has written ‘incredibly cute lamington'. 

As Tawny Frogmouths are the same colour whether male or female it was hard to tell Turramurra's sex. When Tawny Frogmouths get older it is easier to tell as males are usually larger than females. Veterinarians sometimes surgically sex birds that don't have obvious physical differences between the male and female. However, it was quickly discovered that Turramurra was a boy when he was put in an enclosure with another male Tawny Frogmouth, Tom. The two birds did not get along, behaving as though they were competing for territory like they would in the wild. Turramurra was then moved to a new home at the zoo.