As the week went by, we realised that the dense tree tops were hiding more than one fledgling. And around New Year's Eve we saw a parent tūī feeding three different fledglings. The largest fledgling had no fluffy down at all but was still without the white chin feathers, which would mark it as an adult. It surprised me that the chicks were such different size, I wondered whether they could be from different broods.
|The fledgling (left) about to be fed by its parent (right)|
at least a week after it was first seen
Loud wing beats and low flying tūī were now a garden hazard. The tūī were aggressively protecting not just their chicks but also their food sources. The blackbirds were pushed to the garden's margins and any other visiting tūī chased away. The tūī seemed to ignore the tiny, squeaky pīwakawaka that turned up most days, but maybe the pīwakawaka simply knew to keep a safe distance away.
Our tūī pair also 'own' the flax bushes and pōhutukawa at the front of our property and spend a good deal of time flying between them and the back garden. The male has got confused by his reflection in a window and has been challenging the reflection tūī. He even pecked at the window several times.
|Eyeing his reflection|
This isn't the first time we've found tūī fledglings in the garden. Four years ago, I rescued a tūī nest (along with chicks) which had fallen down. You can read about that here. Since then we've seen tūī nests every year and occasionally noticed juveniles that have survived past the fledgling stage. We've been trapping for rats for several years now, increasing the likelihood of the chicks' survival, but domestic cats remain a dilemma.
A Note about Tūī Beaks
|A fuzzy photo of those fuzzy chicks from four years ago|
|A tūī stars on the front cover of my book "Whose Beak is This?"|
Tūī Chicks in the Garden
Blackbird or Tūī - Which Bird is it?
What Bird is That - identifying native birds
More Information on Tūī
NZ Birds Online - http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/tui