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Tawny Frogmouth - Synchronicity


Positive camouflage. Synchronicity. Things falling into place. Becoming one with nature. Oneness. Unification. Breakthrough. Understanding your relationship to spirit.

General Description:

The tawny frogmouth is a nocturnal bird with mottled grey or brown plumage that is excellent for camouflage on grey and brown trees. This is highlighted by the frogmouth's ability to extend its body to resemble a broken off tree branch. It closes its eyes to hide its startling red or orange eyes, but has even evolved two nicks in its eyelids to help it see while camouflaged. During the night they will attack potential predators by diving at them and clacking their beak together loudly.

Frogmouths have wide gapes, hence the name 'frogmouth.' They eat arthropods, small vertebrates and snails. Frogmouths nest between tree forks, and though the male incubates by day, both sexes will share incubation at night. They have broad wings and primary feathers fringed to help them fly silently. They are sadly quite slow to take off and are often harmed and killed in car collisions. They can make a very bass-like 'oom' noise, and will hiss if disturbed.

Lessons and Challenges:

Tawny frogmouth shares the ability to understand your relationship to spirit and nature. Sometimes we lose sight of our place in the grand scheme of things, and then forget that we are always inter-connected with life around us. We are never truly separate from nature, even when we are physically alone, or feel spiritually lonely.

The spirit of tawny frogmouth teaches breakthrough. If there has been an issue bothering you for some time, or if you have been coasting on a plateau, frogmouth pushes you into the next phase. There will be literal breakthroughs in different areas of your life with frogmouth around. And consciously working with tawny frogmouth can create dramatic movement into new and healthful phases of your life.

The concept of synchronicity was developed fully by psychologist C. G. Jung. It refers to two or more events which occur, that are related to one another, and are quite meaningful and yet unrelated (for example, discovering a talent in art, only to have art classes start up down your street a week later). Conceptually it describes an inter-relationship in all things, cosmically and on the mundane level. Synchronicity when it occurs lets us know that everything works on some level with everything else. Sometimes it is obvious to us, sometimes it isn't. Tawny frogmouth is a good representative for the idea of synchronicity, and working with tawny frogmouth reminds us that the universe is working with a sense of harmony, even when we feel everything is descending into chaos.

In line with synchronicity, there is also an emphasis on things falling into their rightful place. Be aware at this time that some of aspects of your life will begin to run more smoothly. Situations will be resolved, and opposing ideas will start to find a common ground.

Tawny frogmouth teaches positive camouflage. Less healthy camouflage involves hiding ourselves from others to our own detriment. Positive camouflage is hiding ourselves (or facets of ourselves) from others in order to ensure our continued health and protection.

Tawny frogmouth uses positive camouflage in order to blend in with its environment and look like an extension of a tree, in response, it can avoid predation and is also less likely to be spotted by its prey. Frogmouth teaches us that the appropriate use of 'hiding from others' can actually be very healthy for us. At times it is perfectly alright to blend into the background, not disclose information about yourself, or become invisible. In fact doing this at a time when tawny frogmouth is around even reinforces your connection with nature.

There is a great theme of becoming one with nature, with Tawny Frogmouth. At a crude level, it 'becomes one,' by having evolved to look precisely like the trees that house it. It further approaches unification by changing its posture drastically to then 'become' the tree. Its very evolution has made it able to become a part of the nature around it. When tawny frogmouth has flown into your life, it is reminding you to actively, consciously reinforce your connection with nature. Go out into it, walk in it, research it and understand it, eventually you will learn that you possess a oneness with it which cannot be taken away from you; only hidden, until you are ready to realise it again.

The Shadow Aspects:

Tawny frogmouth suggests that you have lost touch not only with nature and the spirit, but you might even be questioning why such oneness and unity is necessary. Tawny frogmouth encourages you to breakthrough this time of despair and ambivalence towards nature and its energy. Such ambivalence at this time in your life is not nourishing, and can lead to a general disconnection from life and living.

Tawny frogmouth as a shadow aspect also challenges you to question your relationship to spirit in a provocative manner. It is not enough sometimes to simply 'know where you stand.' Sometimes you need to question everything you believe, shake it up, determine your needs, wants and desires, and determine the needs and wants of the great spirit in order to understand your place in this world. If you hide behind false beliefs and reassurances that all is well between yourself and the spirit, you may find that you drift even further away from unity with nature.


Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Tawny frogmouth has a communicative face and eyes, and so you may find that when you encounter tawny frogmouth in journeying (and to a lesser degree, visualisation), verbal dialogue is less important than visual cues. After all, tawny frogmouth communicates very well with its body, from camouflaging in its environment, using its wide gape, and beak clacking to express displeasure etc. On an aside, if it's possible for a bird to be both cheerful and grumpy at the same timeā€¦

The one problem with consciously seeking out tawny frogmouth in journeying, is that they are often in camouflage when you find them, you may need a fair bit of time just to find it. I see it as a sort of 'test,' if you have the patience to locate the tawny frogmouth, then you're more likely to strike up a good and solid relationship with them. My encounters with tawny frogmouth are also quite spontaneous, he literally 'flies into my life.' If you live in Australia and encounter tawny frogmouths more frequently than usual, chances are, he's getting your attention to remind you of your connection to nature.

Date: 2008-01-19 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooooh! I love the final picture ^_^.

Date: 2008-01-19 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's breathtaking, not just the bird but the combination of green, teal, and blue. I love it! :D

The write-up is very interesting, too. Working with animal spirits is very important, esp. as we are so out of balance with nature.

You got me looking at tawny frogmouth pics and I saw this ADORABLE one that I had to save:


Australian birds are gorgeous, my other half is a birder and though we're in California, he likes reading up on birdlore. :D

Date: 2008-01-19 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your artwork just keeps getting better and better--and I really like your writeups, too. They always make a ton of sense--and this from the anti-dictionary person ;)

Date: 2008-01-19 09:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you.

Maybe the write-ups appeal more because I don't just throw every animal a paragraph or two before shipping them all off to a publisher to get a shiny stamp of approval for it.


Date: 2008-01-19 10:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is an absolutely fantastic picture! You captured the tawny's "I am a branch" spirit so well andthe colours are gorgeous. :-)

And speakingof synchronicities, I had a Tawny in care up until yesterday. He was an adult male, mildly concussed from a car hit- or so I thought. I noticed thoughafter a few dyas that his left pupil continued to be massively dilated & non-reactive. Had the vets scope his eye and it turns out he had a detached & atrophied retina, probably a very old injury. Sadly he wan't going to be rehab-able, so I had to have him euthanised, which breaks my heart- we were starting to bond over the force feeding every evening. Maybe he could have been okay in the wild again, but he was underweight which makes me think he wasn't able to hunt well, plus he'd be easy prey for other beasts and fast drivers. :-(

Yeah, sometimes my work really sucks.but I feel that Mr. Branchy Bird lives on in your painting. :-)

Date: 2008-01-20 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs* Thank you.

And that is a synchronicty, the poor guy. Detached retina... my old cat had that and they took the eye away, but he died 6 months later anyway on account of being 16. It's horrible though when you see a pupil that's *way* too dilated, and know that something is seriously, and probably unfixably wrong.

I would find it so hard to do your job. The balance of euthanasia with actual rehabilitation, release or at least re-homing. *hugs*

Date: 2008-01-19 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love that one!

Date: 2008-01-19 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.


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