Tag Archives: Tui fledglings

A fledgling finds the sugar water feeder

After calling incessantly for food from its parents, this young Tui fledgling eventually came down on to the feeder.
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Its pose is very much that of a fluffy, fledgling not long out of the nest.
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But a gnawing hunger and observation of other Tui drinking at the feeder meant an exploration of how this food source worked.
First attempt was not so successful.
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Second attempt and it was getting a little closer
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Then success!! But no photo sadly.

Noises from other Tui had the fledgling showing more of its true size and condition.DSCF2260 (1280x960)
And finally happy with some food in its tummy it posed for me.
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Teen trouble

It has been apparent for a few days now that the adult Tuis no longer want to feed their young. The fledglings can be very insistent about wanting their parents to feed them. However the squeaking calls are fewer and generally less persistent.
But on two occasions this week there have been some very strident exchanges between parent and child. Mostly these exchanges have happened in the tulip magnolia tree and have been impossible to capture by camera but we have certainly heard great flapping, screeching, squawking and lots of branches and leaves crashing about.

Last evening a very dramatic exchange happened between fledgling and father on the fence and I managed some photos.

It began near the feeder, which was empty, and the father bird flew in as the fledgling was looking sadly at the empty dish. The father’s arrival caused the fledgling to fly on to the fence. At this point the fledgling is on the right in the photo.
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And squeaking all the time it approached the father bird along the fence.
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Feathers almost flew at this point and you can see the fledgling on the left at full spread, imploring Dad to feed it. Dad was having none of that and was equally loud and aggressive back at his offspring.
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Action was high.
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Then, just as suddenly as it began, the male adult flew off and the fledgling retreated to the magnolia.

I then refilled the feeder and heard the fledgling come down through the branches as it returned to seek some nourishment.
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I now recognise the mother and father birds but I am still unsure how many fledglings have been in and out of the tulip magnolia and feeding at the sugar water feeder. Four appeared in the garden during the days between the 6-8th February and I think there have been two different ones at the feeder in the past 10 days but like all teenagers they like to appear the same so I cannot be sure.
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Certainly the parents have finished with their brood and now I am watching for the development of the characteristic white wattle feathers at the throats of the young. These are the feathers that earned Tui the name of “Parson bird” by the early European settlers to New Zealand.

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.

The “Whine and Dine hour” at the feeder

I have been constantly distracted by the young Tui family in our garden. My eyes have been on alert for the young fledglings in our trees and my ears have been on alert for the plaintive squeaking calls of the hungry youngsters.
Around 4.15pm yesterday afternoon I could hear a fledgling’s call from the magnolia tree. The arrival of the parent caused much screeching and agitated wing flapping. While a feed was given on occasion it must have been hungry as the calling continued unabated.
A second fledgling flew into the tree and also began calling at times. Adult birds would come to the feeder and drink with the fledglings recognising only their parents and increasing their pleas for food.
Just after 5.30pm this happened: a parent drinking from the feeder and one brave and very hungry fledgling hopped rather inelegantly down on to the fence.
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We were in for a treat as the following photos show. The nicely plump fledgling on the right was still looking to the parent on the left for food.
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No joy yet.
But then reward for the hungry fledgling.
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And then the parent flew off watched by the young one.
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Waiting in a very trusting manner on the fence.
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Patience rewarded as the mother bird returned to drink and to try and ignore the beak gaping shrieks of her offspring.
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Perhaps the parent birds were hoping to show the young the “fast food joint” because the fledgling remained standing on the feeder.
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And within seconds his/her sibling bumbled down out of the magnolia tree and on to the fence. This one’s plaintive calls had been very ignored by the parents.
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Curious children….
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I was taking the photos too rapidly and this has made them fuzzy at times but here is the feeder sitter investigating the feeder much more closely having watched his mother drink 2 or 3 times from it in a short space of time….
It was exciting to see the young one finally dip his beak in the water and watch his brushy tongue taste this food supplement for the first time. In the way of any young creature he fully investigated all parts of the feeder.
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From this wonderful scenario it would seem that late afternoon and early evening is just as demanding for Tui parents as it is for parents of young humans.
I was busy cooking our dinner so we could get out to singing and at the same time watching these delightful birds and attempting to record it all on the camera. It reminded me so much of my life with small children around dinner hour all those years ago. And I resorted to “fast food” at times back then too!

When you wish upon a star

The lyrics of this well-known song date back to the 1940s for the film adaptation of “Pinocchio” and begin…….
”When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you”

By Ned Washington, Leigh Harline.

Here are the emerging, delicate white star flowers on the garlic chives. They look good enough to make a wish on.
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My wishes for more native birds appearing in my garden have continued to come true this week. Another slight thud on a window heralded the sight of another (or the same) Shining Cuckoo that I blogged about here.
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This time the wee bird was ready to fly away very quickly. These Cuckoos migrate in autumn to various Pacific Islands such as New Caledonia and the Solomon’s. The navigation skills they possess to achieve that journey are impressive. Their ability to avoid window panes in New Zealand is not so good.

Earlier today I heard a bird noise that sounded foreign to me. It was a high pitched squeaking sound that was rather persistent. Then late this afternoon the sound was much closer and I discovered a mature Tui and its very newly fledged youngster in the Tulip Magnolia near the sugar water feeder.

By the time I came outside with the camera the birds had flown. However the insistent squeaking noise was not far away and I found the fledgling again in the Mahoe tree in the tall tree area of our garden.

It is a splash of light near the throat of this young bird not its wattles.

It is a splash of light near the throat of this young bird not its wattles.

The parent bird flew off as I crept closer but my eye was caught by another fledgling bumbling about in the variegated Griselinia.
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It would seem that the adult birds have bought their twins to my garden to feast on the Mahoe berries and with the sugar feeder not far away. Or better still they have nested here and raised these young.
It is almost impossible to gain clear images as the wee birds wisely remain amongst the thick foliage up high in the trees. Neither of these fledglings have wattles and their yellow edged beaks were still visible to my eye as they moved about the branches. Their agility has yet to develop and some of their feathers had a downy look still. They are very newly out of the nest.
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And in further exciting bird news please link here to Toya’s blog where she has posted about her amazing successes at Zealandia over the past two days. Her photos of the Stitchbirds and today the Eastern Rosella feeding its four hungry babies are simply stunning and very informative and special.