Heidi Padain - Entertainment in your garden

It all began early one Saturday morning. I mentioned to Martin that I had noticed an increase in the number of waxeyes on our property.

The usual suspects arrived, King Tui, three blackbirds and a pair of bickering starlings. Then, the waxeyes appeared. While one sat gorging, two or more sat close by beating their wings in protest. You see, waxeyes will only share with a loved one. If too much time passes, the onlookers will launch themselves into battle.

There were small flocks of waxeyes in the nearby trees, all waiting their turn. This frenzy of the many had us laughing and cringing all at once. Waxeyes can be rather brutal with one another. Admittedly we have never found any casualties, but witnessing this constant onslaught had us quickly exploring solutions.

In a fog of caffeinated excitement and still in our nightwear, we dashed around our home in search of things that might prove useful. Things for me were small antique items, ranging from cups to broken bits of a chandelier. Martin returned to the deck with tools, fishing wire and chopsticks.

As soon as we had fashioned one receptacle, we were quickly constructing another. The waxeyes came thick and fast, swarming around our heads excitedly. After a while, they became quite comfortable eating the fruit from our hands.

To be fair, King Tui wasn't as amused by our circus performers as we were. King Tui gave chase, but these little birds know how to move. Eventually, he gave up and sat close to the deck, observing. King Tui slammed his wings together. He was furious! The sound of the tui wings when giving out a warning is a loud, sharp clap. As the number of waxeyes increased, so did the frequency of the claps. Poor King Tui was inadvertently giving the waxeyes a round of applause.

As I reflect on this eventful day, I have to admit to feeling rather grateful that the only random drop-ins visiting our home were of the avian variety. Had any of our friends or family turned up they might have thought we were completely bonkers.

As you can see, waxeyes are so much fun. Next time you notice waxeyes in your garden, get creative. (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.