When we’re hot and dry and can’t get cool no matter how hard we try, how do our birds cope?
I was watering the garden early on Sunday morning and a couple of fantails came to see what I was up to. So I gave them a wee squirt. The water pressure might have been a bit strong because they shot into a kowhai tree,. I tried showering the tree instead and the fantails loved it. They squeaked and chirped, shook their tails and ruffled their feathers and made so much noise that before long they were sharing their shower with 3 other fantails, a pair of tomtits and a young bellbird. I haven’t had any luck photographing fantails, they’re never still which doesn’t make for sharp photos but here is a happy little wet female tomtit, miromiro.
And her mate, wondering where the water went.
Although the New Zealand tomtit belongs to the Australasian robin family of birds it is not a robin.
The tomtit is a small bird, about 13 cm long.
They have large heads and short bills.
The North Island and South Island subspecies of tomtits are smaller than their off-shore island relatives, weighing in at around 11 g. Birds from Snares Island can weigh almost twice as much as this (normally 20 g).
The male North Island subspecies is distinctly black and white, with a black head, back, wings (with a white wing bar) and a white belly.
The subspecies from the South Island, the Chatham Islands and Auckland Islands are similar, but have a distinctly yellow breast
The Snares Island subspecies is entirely black.
Each tomtit pair may raise up to three broods during a season, from September to January.