Fairy-wren with petal

Once in a while I see something so beautiful, so precious that it keeps me smiling for a long time.


Fairy-wren with petal

Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) – male with yellow petal
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 1600


I was sitting in a paddock when I spotted this fairy-wren in the distance, the yellow petal flashed brightly. I was rapt to see it 20 metres away so you can imagine my smile when it flew closer and paused for a second or two, just long enough to take this image.

Several years ago I saw a male fairy-wren with a yellow petal and discovered that it’s part of the breeding ritual, much like the human equivalent of a dozen red roses. With female fairy-wrens being notoriously promiscuous it seems that the males have evolved to make themselves as attractive as possible. It’s interesting that they choose yellow petals, as yellow and blue are complimentary colours, opposites on the colour wheel, ensuring that the yellow accessory makes his blues look super vibrant.

Females fairy-wrens sneak away for pre-dawn liaisons with males that visit their territories during the breeding season. It seems likely that the males who show up looking irresistibly handsome receive the most visits. For more about the social structure of fairy-wrens, the mating habits of non-breeding/juvenile males (captured on film), and how to tell a juvenile male from a female (apart from which one’s on top!), you could visit Fairies at the bottom of the garden

Happy birding, Kim


Update on the Victorian duck shooting season

Animals Australia’s Duck Shooting is not a Sport campaign includes a video and billboards of four sporting heroes speaking out against duck shooting. Quotes from the video include:

David Zaharakis (AFL) – “It’s cruel and it’s heartbreaking.”
Peter Siddle (Cricket Australia) – “It’s just a cowards’ act. In duck shooting it’s one man versus a small little creature that’s defenceless.”
Erin Phillips (Opals basketballer) – “It’s mind-blowing that it’s even allowed. Ducks don’t have a voice.”
Sharni Layton (Diamonds netballer) – “The ducks aren’t going to stand there and say, ‘Hey guys, don’t shoot me’.”

Their words inspired me to create this meme:


Grey Teal Smiling

Grey Teal
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400


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