The Fantail: The Cutest Forest Companion

Guest Blogger: Campaign Manager for the Fantail & Broadcaster, Kim Hill

Photo: Craig McKenzie

Photo: Craig McKenzie

Such good company, the fantail! I realise it’s shamefully anthropomorphic, but they always make me feel as if they’re delighted to see me and have a chat, especially when I’m on my own in the bush.

Yes yes, I am aware that they’re just chasing the insects that get stirred up by my footsteps, but that doesn’t diminish their charm. Having a chat, having a feed, it’s all very sociable. Nothing wrong with self-interest if it gives others pleasure at the same time, I reckon. I’m sorry for the pain of the insects, of course, but it’s the great cycle of life….which is easy for me to say at the top of the food chain but never mind.

Plus, they seem utterly fearless: I’ve seen them flying between my horse’s legs with complete insouciance.The horse never seems to notice, perhaps thinking the fantail is an insect itself, a butterfly: they’re quite incorporeal, like some extra from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but at the same time robust and assertive and jolly.

And that tail! Such a bold accessory for such a small bird, and proportionately even larger than the more famous peacock’s tail, I would have thought. But it’s not showing off, the fantail. It’s more like a witty comment.

So the fantail gets points for chutzpah, which once again should carry it to victory ahead of its larger, more muscular or more earthbound avian rivals.

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6 Comments

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  1. September 22, 2009 10:49 am
    Anne says

    This is the bird who inspired that saying ‘shake them tail feathers’

  2. September 25, 2009 9:46 am
    Phillip Mattson says

    I very much agree, they use that tail to create great agility and they have that cheeky air about them.

  3. September 26, 2009 8:04 pm
    Michael the Possum eradicator says

    I once shot a nice deer, whose presence I was alerted to by the “annoyed fantail”. The bird was screetching almost and darting about above the deer, which was grazing on soft fern, down on it knees, munching happily that is, until the bullet hit the bone. Oh well cycle of Life, thanks happy hunter, dismayed fantail!

  4. September 30, 2009 9:14 am
    siena harrison says

    they are sometimes very fat.they are very cute when they are born. from siena aged 7.

  5. October 16, 2009 9:42 pm
    tina says

    Hiya..any help would be awsome.Im doing a dtudy on the history of omaha forrest, do you know were i can get info about this topic?

  6. October 17, 2009 3:34 pm
    hector's says

    Try the local Forest & Bird branch if you haven’t already Someone there might have info. The local branch is Mid north I think. Contact is somewhere ion this site..

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