And making friends of the Pīwaiwaka in the process!
At Ecowild HQ, we are blessed with an abundance of manu (bird) life. Pīwaiwaka (Fantail), Kōtare (Sacred Kingfisher), Pheasant, Magpie, and Miner to mention a few.
As we transform and develop the land the feeding opportunities for these birds grows with insects and worms previously hidden becoming stirred up and accessible.
Recently after clearing an overgrown area of grassland, a number of playful Pīwaiwaka (also known as Pīwakawaka, or Tīwakawaka) were attracted to the easy pickings that the clearing created.
When I had finished clearing for the day I decided to walk down to the stream that is the bottom boundary of the property through the native trees that cover the sloped area of Ecowild HQ, as there had been a reasonable amount of rain in the preceding period and I wanted to see what impact that had had on the streams flow.
I did not realise that one of the playful Pīwaiwaka had decided to follow me (much to the amusement of Ms Ecowild who had seen my new friend following) probably because she wanted to thank me for being so helpful in making her belly so full, who knows and she wasn’t saying.
Anyway once I arrived at the stream I did notice a Pīwaiwaka nearby. I walked along the stream to one boundary and turned to find my little friend about two meters behind me. I turned to follow the stream back to the other boundary and she followed me again. I stopped half way and thought I may have turned into a Pīwaiwaka whisperer so tried to talk her into coming closer and to land on my hand. To my surprise this was a great success as she immediately doubled the distance between us… so similar to females of the human species.
From then on I watched her more covertly and the distance decreased to about a metre. She followed me to the other boundary flitting here and flitting there, keeping a close eye on what I was doing. She then followed me back up the hill to where we had come from.
It was such a cool and unexpected occurrence it left me feeling a lot more connected to nature and the intelligent wildlife than I felt previously.
Incidentally, Ms Ecowild has tried and failed on numerous occasions to get photos of Pīwaiwaka. Despite her phone and hand being practically sewn together, all she has managed to capture is a blur, or a photo of grass.
Ms Ecowild put the call out on Facebook, and the following images of Pīwaiwaka were provided by Sarah Williams and Kathy Giannoulis (you can find Kathy’s photography on Instagram at @kathygiannoulis – thank you both for letting us use your imagery!