TOPICS: Tawny takes up central address

TUCKED away in a tree on King Street, surrounded by a car park, offices and terrace houses, are this tawny frogmouth and her chick.

Cars and trucks roar by, none the wiser. Businessmen pass beneath and yell into phones. Kids flip skateboards and drunks smash bottles.

The frogmouth mother has nested in that tree for two years, probably more. Last season she watched over a pair of hatchlings until they were strong enough to fly. This year it's just one hatchling.

National Parks' Lawrence Orel said she would have carefully picked her tree.

Her shield against the world is her ability to freeze.

"It's probably been able to survive so well because they have the mechanism to avoid detection," Mr Orel said.

"They sit very calmly in the branches, where they're very well camouflaged. And it's very likely that it's able to forage at night for insects in the street lights."

There's almost certainly a male on the scene, though we've never seen it.

Frogmouths usually have up to four young - when the current chick fledges it will fly off and find a patch and a mate of its own.

It will never see its mother again.

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