Image above is Fanny, TRM’s “pet” fantail photo dated 20 June 2008.
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 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.
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?
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.
So far we have survived about 12 years with regular daily visits, often several in a day – so we are very brave…
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.
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.
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.
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?