The Tawny Frogmouth

Yesterday a kind stranger noticed a small Tawny Frogmouth on the ground and brought it into the vet clinic I’m working at to be checked.

side view Tawny

In true confusing Australian wildlife style, the Tawny Frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl because of its boxy body, wide eyes and nocturnal nature. But just as Koalas are not bears, Frogmouths are not owls.

No obvious injuries were found, however, it was very skinny and being awake in the daytime is very odd for this nocturnal species.

Top view Tawny

While waiting for the wildlife carer we gave the little guy some water, and put in a cat carrier covered with a towel in a quiet area of the clinic.

The vets decided it was best to contact the local Wildlife Victoria volunteer foster carer, who came to collect the Frogmouth in less than an hour of being contacted. She will care for the Frogmouth until it puts on some weight and is well enough to return to the wild.


What I Learned This Week: Veterinary Professional Skills/Intro to Animal Behaviour

I’m currently undertaking two short courses via CourseraEDIVET:  Do you have what it takes to be a veterinarian? run by The University of Edinburgh, and Animal Behaviour run by the University of Melbourne. Neither of them are designed for aspiring veterinary nurses, dog trainers or animal attendants, but I chose them to try out Coursera, because the topics interest me and because they will hopefully inform my future more relevant studies.

I’m in the third week of the EDIVET course, and this week has been about “Veterinary Professional Skills”. Probably the dullest week so far, the material looks at the people skills required to be a good veterinarian (and a veterinary nurse or trainer); the structure of a vet practice, emotional intelligence, the basic structure of a typical consult and how to approach conflicts with clients.

EDIVET:  Do you have what it takes to be a veterinarian?
It was all pretty straight forward. My take home message was about the conflict resolution. It wasn’t different to how I would approach an unhappy client, but it gave me a better way explain it. They outlined a step-by-step technique by Carl Sewell (from his book “Customers for Life), which focuses listening to the clients problems, apologising for the situation (but not admitting fault), explaining the situation and then offering a resolution if required.

The next time I’m asked the question “how would you handle an unhappy client?” in an interview I can answer along the lines of:

First, I would take them into a private space away from other customers and staff. Then I would listen carefully to every issue that they have; making sure not to interrupt and that they have outlined everything that is bothering them. I might apologise that things have worked out this way, or that they are upset and explain briefly why the situation has occurred. Then I would focus on how we can move forward, and resolve the issues as best we can.

It is the first week of the Animal Behaviour course, which is largely introductory. They have touched on the concepts behind the scientific method and how it is used to investigate behaviour, the kinds of questions that can and cannot be answered with these methods, the tools that are used by researchers and an explanation of evolution and how it applies to animal behaviour.

Image of a peacock spider, serving as the logo for the Animal Behaviour course. 'Maratus volans' by Jurgen Otto

Overall Coursera seems to be a fantastic resource with a lot of great functions. Both of these courses are focused on video lectures, weekly quizzes and forum discussions. The Animal Studies course has also incorporated links to other resources, as well as in-lecture mini quizzes to keep students engaged and practicing their knowledge as they go. They’re also going to have actual assignments rather than just weekly quizzes, so tune in next week to find out what that’s all about!