Monday, June 24, 2013

A Tui Visits the Garden

We have a mandarin tree right outside our kitchen window which bears beautiful, sweet, seedless fruit this time of the year.

The tree often plays host to various birds coming to get their fill of fruit. I’ve been yearning to catch this scene on a decent camera ever since I started this blog a few years ago and I’m happy to say I finally got around to getting myself a decent digital SLR. Although I’m still figuring out how to use it properly, the first few snaps I’ve taken on it are already a vast improvement over what I’ve managed previously when it comes to bird photography. So I hope to feature more birds in the future.

Within the space of 10 or 15 minutes I managed to get a shot of 2 of my favourite birds in the garden...

Firstly a native Tui...

This guy seems to be pretty fat and well fed, which explains all the holes in the fruit when we go to pick them for ourselves. But that’s a small price to pay in my opinion because I just love these birds. They produce the widest repertoire of sounds which are very distinctive and unique to the NZ Tui. 

Before you start questioning this bird’s fashion sense with his coloured bangles, I did a little research and discovered that these bands he’s wearing are part of a conservation effort to track and record the movements, diet and habitat of these birds throughout NZ. 

NZ residents who have an interest in the welfare of the native Tui are being encouraged to assist by notifying the organisers of this project of any bird sightings, providing their location and other details. The way I understand it, each individual bird can be identified by the unique combination of coloured bands on its legs. For more info visit the website here

Tuis often feed on flowering plants and trees and it wasn’t until I started looking closely at these photos that I noticed they have a rather long tongue, which I’m guessing they use to extract the nectar from flowers.

The Tui is very much treasured in NZ but they have come under threat at various times from other bird species who they seem to compete with for food and territory. One such competitor is the second of these birds that visited the same tree moments later — an introduced Australian Rosella. I’ll do a separate post about this later – stay tuned.


  1. Nice. My 1/2 brother sometimes cuts orange in half & spears it with stick attached to tree. He has nice pics of Baltimore Oriole landing & eating from it. He takes lots of bird pics, as his backyard is also planted for nature.

    1. I didn't know what a Baltimore Oriole was so I just Googled it and found a picture of what you described about what your brother does, with a piece of orange on a stick. I must try that.
      See here:
      They're a great looking bird. Very striking with its vivid orange and black colouring.
      Thanks for commenting Charles.

  2. 1st time I've heard of a Tui. I love birds from the plain little sparrow to brightly coloured parrots. As we live in a quiet dead end street now we get a lot more birds here compared to our previous home which was on a main road. We had kookaburras around laughing at us this morning.

    1. I love the sound the kookaburras make. They sound so... Australian. You really know you're in Australia when you hear their distinctive 'laugh'.