Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Take On A Fantail

Several years ago I wrote this piece.

A Saturday morning routine is cleaning my electric razor in the courtyard. I tamp it down on the arm of the bench. On Wednesday the fluff is still there, mist-spangled, so for four days there has not been enough breeze to shift it. I remember reading somewhere that hair clippings can be added to compost.

As I drop this tiny contribution into the bin, a fantail appears, flitting and jerking about. I freeze, and suddenly it lands on my old garden sweat-stained hat. It hardly stays a second, then takes off, snaps an insect or two, and lands back on the hat. When it flies off again, it seems so tame I decide to help it.

Gently I shake an akeake bough. The fantail goes frantic as it chases insects loosened by my movement a few inches from my face wheeling and turning, twittering all the time. Its body is so small, it appears to be just a fluff of feathers with a very smart tail. It’s so close I can see the white strip above its eyes, another round its throat, and the chestnut brown of its undercarriage.

Postscript 1 Now I lack the motor skills to clean the razor. It's now one of Anne's chores.
Postscript 2 On the subject of birds, the nearby Karori Wildlife Sanctuary has a problem. A morepork family have nested in a kaka box. Clever birds, a built-to-measure residence.

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