A Story of an Owlet Nightjar

Posted in: Biodiversity & Habitat
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Wildlife rehabilitation is full of surprises.

We have all seen it. Those little signs on the farm gate “Land for Wildlife”.

Land for Wildlife

There is a little part of me thinking that one day I would have my own patch with such a sign.

In the meantime I get to visit those who have. I listen to their stories, their plans and admire how they transform vacant land into a green oasis.  When dealing with Mother Nature there is always the unexpected and this is one those stories.

One such Land for Wildlife property is Tiddlick’s  Plot east of Katanning. Bev and Ron Lockley and Bev’s sister Margo purchased it in 1998 as salt affected  paddock. Over the years, paddocks fenced, trees rows planted, house and sheds built, plus a lot more. Over time wildlife has returned, and the salt affected land improved.

During the last few months they were hearing on Australian Owlet Nightjar during the early mornings and at times during the day. This small insectivorous bird is common and widespread across Australia in a variety of habitats. Despite being common, they are not often seen as it is nocturnal and roost in tree hollows during the day.

Those who have seen one would agree they definitely have a cute factor.

How cute is this bird?

How cute is this bird?


During the day they will venture to the hollow entrance, sun themselves, get some fresh air and at times will call.

At Tiddlick’s Plot, a favourite time it would call was when Bev and Ron was having morning tea. Eventually, during one such cuppa, the roost was found: in a pipe on the water tank stand.


A lot of birds have adapted to use the Lockley’s garden as a home, but a 80mm galvanised pipe was completely unexpected. One recent afternoon visit we did hear it and, sure enough, it was still at the entrance.

The Australian Owlet Nightjar at the entrance. Bev placed same branches to provide some shade.

The Australian Owlet Nightjar at the entrance. Bev placed same branches to provide some shade.


A closer look.

A closer look.


On another visit early one morning, I was able to record its call at dawn.


It goes to show you, we can provide food and shelter planting trees, shrubs and ground cover, which over time improves the environment, bringing back the animals. Then out of the left field mother nature uses something we totally didn’t see.

Author: David Secomb

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2 Comments for : A Story of an Owlet Nightjar
  1. Reply

    thanks for your post and info. We have unofficial land for wildlife, Closeburn, Qld. and have also found animals use whatever niche is available if it suits. Our green tree snakes love the hollow galvanised poles we used here too, as do wasps and native bees. If you like, take a look at our eastern waterdragons using an old fergie tractor and old compost bin lids for baths. wildliferave.simplesite.com

    • Ruby Marinko
    • June 26, 2017

    I think we should take care of thes little birds and to make sure they don’t get close to extinction even if there habitat is getting destroyed we need to make sure nobody damages there environment

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