Five tawny frogmouth owls have been calling the Zeller's backyard home for the past month
Five tawny frogmouth owls have been calling the Zeller's backyard home for the past month Ellen Ransley

Cutest little family moves to Roma

WELL disguised in a suburban backyard, a family of five have moved in amongst the branches.

Nestled above the greenhouse, the tawny frogmouths have been calling a tree in the Zeller backyard on Raglan St their home for over a month now.

Alex and Margaret Zeller first noticed the family a little over a month ago, but it's not the first time they've had special avian neighbours.

"Last year we had a male in a different tree in our yard," they said.

"About a month ago, he and the female bird were back with their three babies.

"The babies would sit in a row with the parents on either end, it was quite marvellous."

The couple said the male bird had flown away a few times and comes back.

"There was a moment the other day when we thought they had all gone, but they were back the next morning," they said.

"We're not sure if they have another nest around town or what but they seem to love our yard."

Native to Australia, the birds have an owl-like appearance, but are more closely related to nightjars.

Enjoying a diet of nocturnal insects, worms, slugs and snails, the birds spend most of their days perched on tree branches, camouflaged, and emerge at night to feed.

There have been numerous sightings of the birds around the region recently, a welcome relief in an era of increasingly endangered species.

The Zellers said they were leaving the budding family in peace as the young continued to grow and adjust to life outside the egg.

"They just sit there, no noise," they said.

"They're great neighbours."


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