They can be found Hiding in Plain Sight

I tend to notice birds who try to remain unseen. My ‘super power’ is spotting Tawny Frogmouths. I have had fun watching friends trying to spot one that I’ve seen in North Eastern Melbourne’s habitat that hugs the Yarra River. That reserve, Banyule Flats, was my local playground and a haven for ‘Tawny spotting’. In fact, I would also spot them in the small park across the road from our apartment block.

Work circumstances caused us to move from the relatively green suburb of Heidelberg to the ultra-urban inner city of Melbourne’s Docklands. I knew that the prospect of seeing Tawny Frogmouths was very unlikely. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of wildlife at all really.

Walking along the polluted, degraded waterfront I soon noticed what others didn’t; my new neighbourhood has its own hidden bird, the Nankeen Night Heron. A regular stream of humans pass unaware of its presence amongst the rotting bollards. To me it became a new friend who I always look out for. I now know at least three of these beautifully sleek birds live down there. Whether they are noticed or not, it’s important to me that they continue to live there.

Melbourne’s a perfect city for Urban Birding. Get in touch for an tour.

Originally written for Urban Field Naturalist (

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