Friday at the Feeder

Yesterday was a busy day for two Tui fledglings as they called, almost without a pause, for food from the tulip Magnolia near the sugar water feeder. At times they hopped amongst the branches in a skill they will use for life. The parent birds came to them far less often than pleased the young ones but their arrival was always welcomed with much noise and if a brief feed occurred there was much leaf stirring and wing flapping.

Around our dinner hour once again I witnessed the parent birds at the feeder, turning their heads after a quick sip to the young in the tree, then taking another sip and again another turn of the head. It certainly looked as if they were encouraging or directing the youngsters to a food source.

Tuis have two voice boxes and can emit sounds that our human ears cannot hear so I wonder if some special sound of encouragement was being emitted during this guiding.

Eventually one of the fledglings bumbled down on to the fence and then to the feeder for a sip or two. This one was quite nervous and flew back to safety in the tree when I attempted a photo or two.

I estimate that these were fledglings # 3 and 4 with numbers 1 and 2 off finding food elsewhere now, independent of their parents.

I had to go out after dinner so missed any further developments at the feeder.

This morning the plaintive calls were sounding and a single fledgling was in the tree. The cries did not continue as ceaselessly as yesterday and there have been two occasions that I have witnessed the little one having a good drink at the feeder.

The fledglings seem to have more tail feathers than their parents and you can see the lovely fan of feathers in this photo. And if you look very closely you can see some of its fluffy down around on its abdomen just above the tail area.
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I only managed two photos before the wee one returned to its perch and within minutes its head was beneath its wing in the sleeping pose of all birds.

It is a hot, sunny, and almost still day here with cicadas sounding and the birds are quiet. Late afternoon and evening have been busy times at the feeder so I will watch again later today.

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10 thoughts on “Friday at the Feeder

    1. ordinarygood Post author

      It does not take that long to venture. I hear squeaking again now (7pm) so the young still have needs. I wonder if the family gather in a tree to sleep together.

      They are cute and fluffy but also showing their finery.

      Reply
      1. Gallivanta

        Yes. Actually, it’s a pity there isn’t a small GPS tracker that one could attach to the birds. Well, there are such trackers but I mean one that could be put on easily by amateur bird watchers in the interest of science.

      2. ordinarygood Post author

        “Tui cam” would be fantastic. Where have the fledglings gone in between sightings here and where do they go to sleep and how far do they fly after their parents.
        When do they begin to sing?
        So many questions being asked by this bird watcher.
        I am keeping notes as I am able….perhaps a diary of a year with the Tuis is forming?

      3. ordinarygood Post author

        It is proving to be quite a task. I’ve been away for 27 hours and come back to find squeaking fledglings still and I thought the fourth fledgling was almost on its independent way on Friday evening. I may have to keep a diary for two full years to get a real picture of the life cycle of the Tui.

      4. Gallivanta

        Maybe even longer! My sister says that she thinks that the same curlew pair return to nest on her property each year. I guess the tui do the same; return each year to their safe nesting site.

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