Who’s been sleeping in my bed?

During May 2013 we took down a nest box for repairs and found the bottom of the box covered in bones and parts of invertebrates. It looks like a bird has been roosting in the nest box and regurgitating the undigestible parts of its meals.

We are now in the process of sorting through the debris and trying to work out what has been eaten and who ate it. So far we’ve been able to identify beetles, mole crickets and scorpions from the body parts left behind. The identified bones have come from mice, lizards, frogs and a snake. Some of the bones are only a few millimetres long while others are several centimetres.

The only bird we have seen in the nest box is a laughing kookaburra. However, the kookaburra is unlikely to be the one leaving behind all of these remains (though it may have left some). Kookaburras hunt during the day, but scorpions and mole crickets are nocturnal and only come out at night.

Another suspect is the southern boobook. Although we haven’t seen one in the nest box, boobooks are known to roost in hollows and have most of our finds on their menu.

When we’ve retrieved all of the body parts we’ll be asking the people at the WA Museum what they believe the remains belong to and what bird they think left them. It will be interesting to find out what the experts think.