Part of the successful resurgence in the Tui population can be attributed to their preparedness to eat food that is not part of the native smorgasbord on offer.
At the moment a neighbour’s spreading Protea tree (Proteas are South African natives but which can grow very well in New Zealand) is a fine dining table for the Tuis.
The flowers begin as cones.
Once open they are very fluffy looking inside
And each part of the flower has a slightly fluffy quality to it.
I have been watching the Tuis feed in this tree and it appears that they pop their curved beak in between the sides of these flowers rather than supping from the open top.
Somewhere beneath the fluffy interior must be sweet nectar. The pickings must be very good as they dine there everyday, visiting many times in the day and they sing and whistle endlessly giving thanks for their splendid meals.