Tui are being seen in many parts of Wellington as summer gets closer. This fat and happy pair were feeding at Otari-Wilton’s Bush.
Rata in full flower are the attraction for the tui. The photos were taken by a friend of Otari-Wilton’s Bush (its full name is the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve), who writes:
The climbing rata in the planted garden area provide a particularly prominent display this year. The beautiful red flowers attract the tuis for the nectar which they provide.
The pictures were taken around 4pm but no doubt frequent visits are made during each day in this attractive bush reserve which provides their food basket.
In recent years due to the regular pest control programme, increasing numbers of tuis, keraru and other attractive birds enhance the pleasure for visitors.
Here’s another fat and happy tui, in a garden in Brooklyn. The photo was also taken at about 4pm. Click on the image for a larger version, and you’ll see him in the centre of the frame, feeding on flax flowers, and singing noisily.
According to the Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand (Viking, 2005), tui will fly up to 10km a day to visit a prime nectar source. As well as rata and flax, they like kowhai, fuchsia, rewarewa and pohutukawa. Perhaps this tui had flown across from Wilton to Brooklyn for an afternoon snack.
If you’re going to Whangarei for the holidays, they claim they’ve got a talking tui in their native bird recovery centre. Zealandia, needing to encourage more visitors to pay its admission fee, might want to train a talking tui too. But there’s no admission fee at Otari-Wilton’s Bush.