Every year TRM have reported the return of Fanny. This season she is late – last year (2018) she arrived one day earlier on 29th March. I wonder if she is the same bird judging by her familiarity with her annual “look out” perch and intimate knowledge of where the spiders hide in the rafters. This seasonal visiting pattern has been maintained since 2008! Below is the TRM Fishing (?) Report on 5 April 2018.
Image above is Fanny, TRM’s “pet” fantail photo dated 20 June 2008.
Images on right are the same bird (?) on 29 March 2018.
Early warning to guests:
She thinks she has sole rights of entry to eliminate insects in every
unit. Please do not panic or try to shoo her out. She is harmless.
All she wants is to be left alone to flutter around and remove any bugs
in the rafters.
We wonder if the 2008 and 2018 versions might be the same bird?
She flies in directly to her ‘look-out’ on the same light cord every time.
She knows her way around so well. I quickly have to open all the bedroom doors so she can complete her bug eradication programme.
I think she has noticeably slimmed down over the years.
So she must be at least 10 years old. ? Do they live that long?
Every year, usually in early Autumn she (? I’m sure it must be a “she” as she volunteers for house-keeping duties?) sneaks back in to attack all the tiny spiders and bugs that must hide up in the rafters where SWMBO cannot see them.
Then she settles on the same light cord over the dining table and we have a good old chat about the weather and climate change and TRM signage wars fines and fishing – all the usual stuff. She understands and agrees with everything I say.
She visits regularly for about a month or two and then disappears until the next year.
I am curious whether it has been the same bird all the time?. She seems to be so familiar with the layout of our house and other motel units as she flutters in and out of the rooms searching around the high hard-to-reach corners and removes any insect wild-life missed by SWMBO.
She always perches in exactly the same spot, basking in the warm morning sun, totally relaxed, quite unafraid and glad of the company to chat me up (?). I think she tries to thank me for leaving her some spiders.
Her markings appear to be identical. But then perhaps to us they all look the same?
I tried for an hour to catch a movie on the iPhone as she flitted and zapped around catching flies on the wing but she was too fast and elusive.
The fantail has 20 or 30 different Māori names. As well as tīwaiwaka, it is commonly called pīwakawaka, tīwakawaka or tīrairaka.
In one tradition, it was the fantail that caused Māui’s death, so it is a harbinger of death when seen inside in a house. A fidgety person is described as a fantail’s tail, because of the bird’s restless movements.
In case you believe the superstition or imagine fantails inside a house signal a pending death in the TRM family (?) if there is no TRM Daily Report tomorrow you know we were warned.
So far we have survived about 12 years with regular daily visits, often several in a day – so we are very brave…
SWMBO regards them as wonderfully entertaining unpaid house-keeping staff to eradicate flying bugs and insects without the use of any nasty chemical sprays.
The only birds that have deserted us over the last 10-12 years are the swallows, but their departure was something of a relief. They constructed their original nest directly above the entrance to Unit 7. (2019 Update – the swallows have returned)
Then each year they rebuilt it mainly out of mud to glue the straw together.
Although they were cute (?) and great entertainment as they swooped over the lawns devouring tiny almost unseen insects, they also messed a lot in the car ports. That could always be cleaned up but sometimes guests cars were parked there too.
We even bought a car cover for in our own garage to protect the airport taxi and so we have something to provide in case any guests complained.
They did not really add to our motel star rating.
Fantails and quail and pigeons are much better temporary staff members.
Every spring we are attacked by raiding parties of Tuis stripping the Kowhai trees.
The Bellbirds are particularly welcome for their morning chorus so we leave syrup out for them, although the more aggressive Tuis usually pinch it first.
Apart from inmates coming and going, TRM is home to a wide variety of other local wild life. They have done their homework and recognised what good value is offered here, so they stayed.
Some – like the quail – have been ‘in residence’ for at least 13 years but once again we are not sure whether we are looking after the original Mum or Daughter or Grand Daughter.
They all look alike to the untrained eye.
After being ‘in residence’ for so long, I am wondering how to include them in the TRM inventory of assets. They add so much value to make a tourist’s visit more memorable.
They also add even more to the character of the place that it would not be the same without them.
So I might try to slip them in on the list of insured items providing special significant added value to TRM such as the “Welcome to Turangi” sign and bikes and rafts and BENY and SWMBO? Well I can only try?
How many tuis can you count in the Kowhai tree?