24 Aug 2021

Unlikely friendships in lockdown

From Afternoons, 1:32 pm on 24 August 2021

Wildlife photographer and self-described "bird nerd" Holly Neill has made friends with pīwakawaka during last year's lockdown and the current one.

Check out some other images here on Holly's Twitter.

Holly's piwakawaka friend.

Holly's piwakawaka friend. Photo: Holly Neill Photography

A photo of the friendly fantail she took last year has been a big hit on social media.

“I encountered it when I was going to the compost bin every day emptying our food waste and it eventually cottoned on that it could get a free feed every time I visited the compost.

“Those photos I shared, it felt like it was yelling at me to open the lid, it was a bit impatient.”

A pīwakawaka captured by wildlife photographer Holly Neill.

A pīwakawaka captured by wildlife photographer Holly Neill. Photo: Holly Neill photography / Twitter

Holly, who is based on the Kāpiti Coast, has her tweet of the demanding pīwakawaka retweeted 350 times.

The shot is so clear you can see right down the birds throat … displaying it’s ‘teeth’.

The little teeth are called papillae and help them keep hold of all the bugs they catch, Holly says.

And now she’s has moved but befriended a new pīwakawaka via the compost heap on her new home

“I would go out to the compost bin every time I heard one calling and then eventually it cottoned on as well.”