Tag Archives: Tuis

Thursday Tui Triumph

DSCF2694

Finally I have set time aside to upload a video clip of Tuis visiting the sugar water feeders in my garden last November (2014).

It is my first You Tube upload and seemed simple enough thank goodness.

To get the best effect from the You Tube clip click this link here: , turn the sound up on your device and enjoy the songs of the Tui (they have a double voice box which means they can make a large range of fluting notes, through to gurgles and croaks). All the louder bird song/sounds on this clip are those of Tui.

I hope you can also hear the rustling sounds of their wings.

I have blogged about Tui many times here on my blog and they continue to bring me endless delight as they visit the garden.

During the next breeding season I will be on the look-out for visiting fledglings and I plan to video those charming youngsters.

The holiday trip is over

No, I haven’t been away on a holiday trip, although my absence from this blog might indicate that I had. I have been busy decluttering and tidying and cleaning amongst other “around the house” chores.

It is the Tuis who appear to have returned from a holiday trip to who knows where?

This photo taken on 18th December 2014 shows evidence of the last really heavy rainfall we have received and certainly left the birds looking very bedraggled.
DSCF1832 (800x600)
The weather was better the next day and the Tuis gone. The heat evaporated any sugar water that was left in the feeder dishes and apart from hearing the calls of the Tui off in the distance at dawn and last light there was no evidence of the crowds that had been visiting the feeders since September.
However a month to the date, almost, the Tuis have returned.
DSCF2115 (1280x1169)

Initially just one or two and they did not herald their arrival, choosing to drink very quietly. But in the past two days numbers have increased and our songsters are back. It had been very quiet and strange without them. Many are nervous visitors so it will take time for them to become accustomed to our presence.
DSCF2121 (1136x1280)
Many of the new year Tuis are juveniles and almost all the birds are looking less glossy and colourful.
DSCF2120 (1280x853)
The light yesterday was bright and glaring when I had some moments to try out my new Monopod (a welcome Christmas gift which allows more zoom capacity without camera shake). This last photo is of a younger bird I would suspect.
As I type this post two adult Tui have been debating the use of the feeders and singing to, or perhaps, at each other with some wing flapping happening, so normal transmission has resumed.

The tail of a tropical storm and the Tuis

Earlier in the week with the weather looking more summery I noticed that the Tuis were not visiting the feeders nearly as often. The flaxes are flowering and many other natural food sources are offering them good nourishment.

Flax flower

Flax flower


However the tail end of a tropical storm reached us last evening with humidity and now rain. Quite heavy rain at times and the Tuis are back and in numbers.

It is not as easy to look glamorous and well groomed today.
DSCF1832 (800x600)

Friday Flower

New Zealand Pohutukawa Tree (Metrosideros Excelsa) bursting into flower. It is a member of the myrtle family and grows very well in our harsh coastal conditions. Tui and other nectar feeding birds enjoy the flowers’ nectar.
DSCF1730

When the Pohutukawa flowers it is said to mean that it is summer in New Zealand….mmmm we are waiting for that currently and that it is Christmas time…..well that is very correct.

Stillness and Light

Earlier in the week, as the last hour of sunshine filled the garden and the incessant wind had dropped, I went into the garden with my camera.
Lovely light on the Kowhai tree leaves.
DSCF1668 (800x600)
Even the Tuis were happy to sit still for me on this occasion.
DSCF1684 (800x600)
DSCF1674 (800x600)
DSCF1676 (800x600)

We could hope for more of the same with summer officially beginning this week.

A Tui Hui

For those of you reading from beyond New Zealand, the Maori word “Hui” means a gathering.

Yesterday the local Tuis flocked to the sugar water feeder. It was something of a competition to see how many could perch on the feeder and gain access to the sugar water.

I think this photo shows the maximum number who had artfully arranged themselves on the structure.
DSCF1283 (640x480)

Others were on the fence or in the nearby Magnolia tree awaiting a space to open up!
DSCF1285 (640x480)
DSCF1281 (640x480)

Darby and Joan

There is definitely a change out there in the bird-o-sphere. The Sparrows and Blackbirds have been seen arguing over possible mates as the breeding season approaches even though for the humans it feels very much like the depths of winter, with spring a long way away.
In the past week the Tuis have changed their behaviours noticeably too. Groups have been visiting the Magnolia tree with all manner of chasing and flapping and branch hopping. There has been an increase in singing from the tops of trees as witnessed here.
DSCF0201
Then yesterday after hearing several long courting and wooing choruses I spotted these two, all puffed up and looking like an old married couple. My Mum would use the term “Darby and Joan” to describe this scene.
DSCF0228

Tui do not like to share space, especially as the males are establishing their territories in which to breed right now. So to see two birds sitting side by side so amicably was a surprise.

The cosy scene was quickly shattered as a rival bird flew into the tree.
DSCF0231

This caused the female companion to flee and the male to look above to see where trouble lay.
DSCF0230

Within seconds the tree was empty of Tui again.

Did you spot the sparrow photo-bombing in the last photo?

I spotted Darby and Joan together in the garden this morning again but they flew away too quickly for me to photograph.

Tui on Tuesday

No snow here but it is brutally cold and a local mountain road is closed at the moment due to snow.

Yesterday I braved the increasingly icy conditions in a patch of welcome, but brief sunshine to check out the Tuis.

This one had enjoyed a vigorous bath in our spouting which was still full of rain from recent showers.

From the bathing site the Tui fly to a nearby tree and shake out their feathers, preen, scratch, shake some more and sing about the joys of a free wash and dry, no matter the weather.
DSCF0146DSCF0151DSCF0150DSCF0149

DSCF0148DSCF0152

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.
DSCF6381
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.
DSCF6362
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.
DSCF6363
No joy yet.
But then reward for the hungry fledgling.
DSCF6364
And then the parent flew off watched by the young one.
DSCF6365
Waiting in a very trusting manner on the fence.
DSCF6368
Patience rewarded as the mother bird returned to drink and to try and ignore the beak gaping shrieks of her offspring.
DSCF6369
Perhaps the parent birds were hoping to show the young the “fast food joint” because the fledgling remained standing on the feeder.
DSCF6370
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.
DSCF6371
Curious children….
DSCF6372
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.
DSCF6376
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!