Heidi Padain: Entertainment in your garden

Just as I was beginning to think that the winter months were becoming horribly dreary, my old friend king tui arrived.

It goes without saying that he’s not visiting just because he likes me. No doubt he’s rather fond of the fruit I put outside. His favourite fruit is orange, but recently I introduced him to mandarins, and he seems to favour these over the oranges now.

There are times when I wonder about the wisdom of feeding birds. Had I not been doing this for years, I wouldn’t have been able to learn so much about them and photograph them, of course. This particular tui has allowed me to get so close that I’ve managed to take some spectacular shots of him over the years.

I never thought I would raise the subject of anthropomorphism in my column, but it’s come to mind of late. I feel as human beings we sometimes fail to notice when we cross the line with other species. Feeding can set expectations and tip the balance of breeding. You can end up with one bird species outnumbering the others. I’m not keen on feeding the seed-eating birds, but I admit that I have done this on occasion, and regretted it. Once you end up with sparrows and mynah birds in your garden, you soon notice that the native birds stop coming. It’s not something I’m happy about, so I do not put seed or bread out, only fruit.

Staying on the subject of seed eaters, seems I have a new friend. If you read my column in the June issue of Ponsonby News, you might recall the unexpected arrival of a racing pigeon on my deck. I tracked the owner down and returned the bird, which I had named Vogel.

Four weeks later, I heard that unique whistling sound that pigeons make with their wings, and I immediately realised that Vogel was back. I thought it was hilarious when I saw her strutting around outside and sent the owner John a photo of her. “It’s rather odd,” he said. “Homing pigeons usually have just the one home. Perhaps don’t feed her next time, then she might stop visiting.”

Oh. You see, now I’m somewhat torn, because I rather like Vogel visiting. It’s hard isn’t it? (HEIDI PADAIN)

To see some of Heidi’s other photographic work, go to www.flickr.com and type Heidi Padain into the search box, or, you can contact Heidi by email hidihi@xtra.co.nz, or look her up on Facebook – Heidi Padain Photography.