From the book of poems "The Animals Noah Forgot" by A.B. Patterson

Camouflage
Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson


BESIDE the bare and beaten track of travelling flocks and herds
The woodpecker went tapping on, the postman of the birds,
“I’ve got a letter here,” he said, “that no one’s understood,
Addressed as follows: ‘To the bird that’s like a piece of wood.’
“The soldier bird got very cross—it wasn’t meant for her;
The spur-wing plover had a try to stab me with a spur:
The jackass laughed, and said the thing was written for a lark.
I think I’ll chuck this postman job and take to stripping bark.”

Then all the birds for miles around came in to lend a hand;
They perched upon a broken limb as thick as they could stand,
And just as old man eaglehawk prepared to have his say
A portion of the broken limb got up and flew away.

Then, casting grammar to the winds, the postman said, “That’s him!
The boo-book owl—he squats himself along a broken limb,
And pokes his beak up like a stick; there’s not a bird, I vow,
Can tell you which is boo-book owl and which is broken bough.

“And that’s the thing he calls his nest—that jerry-built affair—
A bunch of sticks across a fork; I’ll leave his letter there.
A cuckoo wouldn’t use his nest, but what’s the odds to him—
A bird that tries to imitate a piece of leaning limb!”

Note from G.M.
A B. actualy is in error about the frogmouth being the boo book owl. Frogmouths are not owls, they use their beak to catch prey, not their claws.

Journal Comments

  • cruserart
  • Kathie Nichols
  • Virginia McGowan
  • Jayne Healy