Friday, October 2, 2015

Owlet Nightjar's Nesting

01st October 2015

Pair of Owlet Nightjar's Nesting at Jarowair

After almost 12 months, we have had our second sighting ever of an Owlet Nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus) at Jarowair, and a spectacular sighting it was!  A pair of Nightjars have started using one of the nesting boxes that Brendon has installed here.  This box was made from a hollow stump, which he added a top and bottom to and made an entrance hole with the hole-saw.  What an amazing sight it was to see Australia's smallest nocturnal bird peeking out from the entrance!

Owlet Nightjar at Jarowair 01/10/15

The story doesn't end there....

Later that night I heard an unusual sound down the back of the property from the house.  The call kept coming and I knew it was a sound I hadn't heard before, so headed off with the torch to investigate. As I got closer, I realized it was the nightjar calling out in alarm - the sound was chilling and it wouldn't stop.  The nightjar was now on a branch not far from the nesting box.  I ran back to the house for the camera, another torch & Brendon and back down we went.  On return, we saw the other nightjar also close by.  It wasn't long until we spotted their concern... a Squirrel Glider was headed towards the nesting box and the Nightjars were flying at it trying to scare it away.  Straight away we realised that there must be babies in the box!

A snap, crazy decision was made, for Brendon to climb up the tree to check on the babies in the box, while doing this, the squirrel glider entered the hole of the nesting box much to our alarm also.  We love our gliders, don't get me wrong, but seeing these nightjars nesting was super special - we couldn't risk losing the baby nightjars.  Brendon awkwardly climbed the tree, opened the box to find the glider inside and carefully as possible pulled the glider from the box and put it into his pocket while being bitten numerous times, he managed to not fall from the tree - despite me laughing in hysterics on the ground below.  He looked into the box to see three eggs, and none of them damaged - thankfully.  The glider was moved to a nearby tree, a little distressed from it's ordeal also!

We waited some time and the nightjars returned to the nest, and were relieved to see one at the hole again the next night. Fingers crossed, they have success raising their little chicks and that the gliders find plenty of insects and flowers to feed on instead of these little bird's babies!  Intervening with natures way isn't something we like to do usually, however we felt it was certainly worth it this time!

B & J


  1. Fantastic little birds! How many species have you had nesting at Jarowair?

    1. They are lovely aren't they! That is a great question about how many birds we have had nesting here. I haven't kept a record really, but off the top of my head, not including the Nightjars, mostly common birds being, Galah, Magpie, Crow, Magpie-Lark, Willie Wagtail, Striated Pardalotes, Sacred Kingfishers, Laughing Kookaburra, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Tawny Frogmouth, White-throated Gerygone, Little Lorikeet, Noisy Miner, Red-backed Fairy Wrens are the ones to come to mind. I think starting a list of nesting birds is a good idea!

  2. Excellent news all round, except possibly for the glider.

    However, the question has to be asked. Where is the link to the You-tube - either of Brendan up the tree or Judith fogl?


    1. Martin.... you know us well! There is footage of my dear hubby climbing up the tree in his dressing gown, along with me laughing constantly! I will aim to add it to youtube once I have downloaded it from the phone! It was quite a hilarious evening!

  3. It's always exciting to keep an eye on birds and their habits. Owls are just gorgeous to see. I do hope the little ones make it.

  4. What a great bird - I'd never be in the house if I had these in the garden! Great post.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. That was quite a night time adventure you and your hubby had, glad it wasn't a misadventure, and all is well. with the eggs. They are gorgeous birds and you are so lucky to have them nesting in your garden.


Thank you for leaving a comment on Jarowair Our Patch - your feedback is much appreciated, Kind Regards, Judi & Brendon