The thornbills were busy playing with their willy-wagtail friends in the paddock when we called out to them. Smaller than my thumb, these birds left the safety of the scrub and sat on the fence, singing for us and posing for the camera. They remembered us even though another year had passed from our previous visit.
We were lucky this time, the light was good, we had the teleconverter lens as well as the extra zoom. The picture on the left was taken on the previous visist without the teleconverter lens and blown up using GIMP.
The recent pictures are below. I've inlcuded the full shot and then close-ups created using GIMP. I'm really pleased we managed to get some clear shots. The birds even came onto the road and caught an insect in front of us and waitied while we photographed. Don't let their tiny size fool you. These birds have hearts as big as humans, they love being acknowledged and showing they too can be friends.
Thornbills or Yellow-bottoms as they are fondly called are no more than 10 cms long. But their hearts and their awareness can match any human. One morning, we walked into a freshly turned paddock trying to photograph a couple of peewees on the other side. Our eyes caught some movement along the ground, almost like leaves rustling in the wind, except these had a slightly bumpier motion. Looking closer we were delighted finally get to see some thornbills, lighly hopping amidst the new shoots. In the photographs they are so tiny that one can hardly spot them!
Nevertheless, we thanked them for hanging around and letting us photograph them. On our return from our walk, the flock flew out of the paddock and landed only a few feet in front of us. They hopped along in the gravel in front of us till we were almost home, which in their terms was quite a long way from their home territory! Their mottled-grey backs providing the perfect camouflage. They had heard our 'thank you' and wanted us to know they too understood and appreciated the sentiment.
A few weeks later, we went out again at a different time of day. We couldn't see any of the birds. But on hearing our voice, one single thornbill, unprotected by the company of friends, came out into the open and sang for us. The bird put himself/herself in such a vulnerable position to show us that we had been recognised and didn't want us to return disappointed. The bird realised we cared and wanted to give us something in return.
Not even a bird as tiny as a thornbill is without love and understanding of things so much bigger than itself. Just like the Striated Pardalote, they too wanted to use the opportunity to show their conscious awareness and incredible capacity for love and friendship. These birds do not eat or drink in our yard. They get nothing from us, but they recognised good will in an instant. Even after a year the birds showed that they remembered us and one again came out sang.
Have a look at the slideshows and also close-ups below:
Slideshow - April 2009
Close-ups: April 2009
Close ups from Jun 2008:
Slideshow from June 2008:
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