Dead Frogmouth

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james113
james113's picture
Dead Frogmouth

Hi all.

After not seeing our resident tawny frogmouth for a few days I was sad to find its body in the middle of our front paddock. This patch of grass is well clear of any trees that it might have been roosting in. I performed a quick inspection of its body and it didn't appear to have any obvious injuries or wounds.

Any ideas what could have killed it?

James

timmo
timmo's picture

Potentially natural causes?

My folks found one dead recently in their carport under the car in similar state - no apparent injuries or trauma.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Araminta
Araminta's picture

I used to have one hunting from my gutter every night. It wasn't scared of us, it tollerated us coming and going. One morning it sat on our door mat . Obviously not well, looked as if it had come to ask for help. I picked it up and took it to my Vet. Her (?) abdoman felt a bit hard. At first the Vet thought she might have been "eggbound" , but when he took some X rays , he found a tumor . Needless to say the put the bird to sleep. Your bird could have had all kinds of different illnesses.

(also, if it would have been bitten by a cat, those puncture wound are very difficult to find. There might not be any blood, cat bites leave minute punctures . Even days later the bird could have died of a massive infection)

M-L

james113
james113's picture

Thanks guys. I was just a bit concerned it might have been inadvertently poisoned, and the position of its body seemed to imply that it just fell out of the sky.

To confuse things a little I found another dead one about 100m down the road, although it appeared to have been hit by a car.

James

Willskrills
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Thats sad to hear James, they are such wonderful birds, there was a pair with a juvenile that lived at my house. I find with all the ones i see you can get really close to them.

William.S

james113
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Thanks everyone.

After finding a dead bandicoot and another dead "mystery" bird (feathers only) in the same vicinity, I decided to set up a trap cam. I think I found the culprit! (it's a fox, but hard to tell from the still image).

Any ideas on how to get rid of it, or is that just a waste of time?

James

Woko
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Sure looks like a fox to me. Some years ago we used Foxoff, a compressed meat cube impregnated with poison. Be sure to follow the directions on the pack. 

soakes
soakes's picture

You'll never get rid of foxes, sadly.  Without a concerted government campaign, they are here to stay.  Even if you manage to kill one, its place will be taken by a younger, faster one.

I have thousands of such pictures.

soakes
Olinda, Victoria, Australia

Woko
Woko's picture

Whether we get rid of foxes or not depends on what priority we give to the job. We seem to have done a good job of getting rid of a number of native animals without even giving it a second thought! 

I should have added to my post #7 that the foxes are back on my place although I saw a dead one 2 weeks ago. It may have eaten a poisoned rabbit as there is rabbit baiting at my place & on some neighbouring properties. 

James, I should have also added that getting rid of foxes takes a concerted effort by you & your neighbours. Even then it would seem that a fox eradication programme needs to be ongoing as so far authorities are unwilling to give fox extinction in Australia a high priority. 

zosterops
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I always wondered about the potential of poisons used to combat pest mammals negatively affecting scavengers that later consume them (Wedge-tailed Eagles, Whistling and Black Kites etc). Thoughts? 

Woko
Woko's picture

1080-laced oats is the bait being used by landowners including myself. It's supplied by the local Natural Resources Management Board because native animals have developed a tolerance for it given that 1080 is part of many native plants, although I've read that this applies to Western Australian native vegetation more so than to native vegetation in other states.

There are few native scavengers in my area due to the dearth of mature trees in which they can nest. The main danger might be to Little Ravens I try to minimise this by sweeping up any uneaten grain & burying rabbit carcasses early on the day after the bait is laid. According to my Board bait supplier there is little danger to native animals from 1080 although I'm not entirely convinced. 

One of my concerns is that if & when all the rabbits have been eradicated what do the raptors feed on (once there is adequate native vegetation to provide breeding places for them), especially in areas where there are few if any native mammals left? Will they be hungry enough to attack healthy lambs & other young stock? If so, what will be the response of local farmers? Wedge-tailed Eagles, for example, feed on reptiles & young kangaroos & wallabies & numbers of these animals are increasing here. But for how long since at least one farmer's trigger finger gets very itchy if he sees a few kangaroos? 

It's a rather complex picture but I'm hoping the benefits of more native vegetation seedlings to eventually provide habitat will outweigh any danger to native animals, including birds, especially if safeguards are used. 

zosterops
zosterops's picture

True, many raptors in urban and rural habitats are largely dependant on introduced animal species as food resources. 

Black-shouldered Kites feed mainly on the house mouse in many areas.  

I seem to recall reading a study on the effects of myxomatosis on rabbit populations, after initial disease introduction there was reported collapse in the Little Eagle population as they were practically completely dependant on rabbits. 

Woko
Woko's picture

I've seen Black-shouldered Kites taking house mice on many occasions. But I was unaware of the collapse in the Little Eagle population after the introduction of myxomatosis. Nasty! It seems there is a case for the broadscale re-introduction of native mammals onto fortified & fenced, feral free farms if we're going to get the "balanced development" some people talk about. 

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

The effects of 1080 as discussed by Dept of Primary Industries, Water and the Environment (DPIPWE) Tasmania (the only organisation allowed to import 1080 into Tasmania) makes interesting reading. There is a table detailing the amount of affected meat (in this case Pademelon) an animal would need to eat to be affected.  Whist it appears to be relatively safe, you have to wonder why Australia is one of the only countries not to have banned the use of 1080. It can be a very painful and slow death for the affected animal. There are also other articles available which indicate that isectivorous birds have been killed, by eating insects, which have dined on affected carcasses (see 2nd link). While each side is able to produce arguments to support their case, I think I have provided balanced information for all to make up their own minds. I for one would not allow 1080 to be used on my property. 

You make up your own mind.

http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/agriculture/agvet-chemicals/1080-poison

http://www.wlpa.org/1080_poison.htm

Sorry if the thread has been hijacked.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

zosterops
zosterops's picture

Many raptors have very high 1080 tolerance so are not considered of much concern there. 

however i wonder about the effects of sublethal doses having other health effects of the birds or other scavengers.  

I'm more concerned about pindone. i remember reading somewhere raptors tested were relatively susceptible to the poison. 

Woko
Woko's picture

Lots of food for thought. Thanks Dale & zosterops. 

I find myself in a painful dilemma, ultimately brought about by massive land clearance in my area on the s.e. slopes of the Mt Lofty Ranges, SA. If, throught the use of 1080, I'm causing the death of native creatures (so far I've seen no evidence of this) then that's a shocking thing. On the other hand if I don't control rabbits then native wildlife habitat is compromised. E.g., rabbits have decimated a large patch of Berry Saltbush Atriplex semibaccata which provides fruit for native birds & shelter for small reptiles. Since rabbit numbers have declined significantly the A. semibaccata is making a strong comeback (but it's probably too soon to see any increase in native animal numbers). How to work out the costs & benefits involved in my dilemma I'm not sure but I think I come down on the side of habitat preservation & restoration. 

To reduce the chances of 1080 getting into the wildlife population I've buried rabbit carcasses I've found on the mornings after I've laid the 1080 bait. However, there could well be other carcasses around that I haven't found although I'm keeping my eyes open for the presence of scavengers which could indicate the presence of carcasses. 

While I hope I'm sensitive to any pain & suffering caused to any animals, native or introduced, I'm at the same time somewhat wary of animal welfare organisations which focus on individual animals rather than on species. Such organisations have their place in society but I fear that they tend to ignore the broader picture of biodiversity preservation. 

I think I'll have another chat with the chap from the Natural Resources Management Board. 

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Woko, I think your doing ok, by collecting and disposing of carcasses in this way. As I mentioned, there are two sides to the story, and while I won't have 1080 on my property, I respect the rights of others to use it in a responsible manner. My concern is with those (often government agents) who lay baits, and for them that is the end of their involvement, or certainly monitoring of its effectiveness is inadequate!

I have not heard of pindone before, and without research would not offer any comment.

I agree you have a dilemma, trying to get the balance between your native and endemic species (flora and fauna), whilst trying to eradicate unwanted specimens. I think so long as you remain balanced, then you are on the right path.

The only other consideration is for unwanted species to be dealt with in a humane way, as cruelty is still cruelty regardless of pest status.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Woko
Woko's picture

Thanks, Dale. Often there are no perfect solutions & coming to terms with that fact is part of living a satisfying life rather than one filled with personal turmoil!

zosterops
zosterops's picture

Native mammals on the east coast are generally sensitive to 1080 (most species in WA are fine with the toxin as various wild Gastrolobium species naturally contain the toxin). In Tasmania and vic it's used to cull wallabies etc. 

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