Time for fantail chicks to leave
This photograph was taken the night before these two fantail chicks left the nest. They seemed to be quite restless and were flexing their wings.
One of them, as can be seen in the photograph, hopped up on to the side of the nest and while clinging to the nest began to beat its wings as if flying.
Notice this bird’s tiny white tail. It was about 3cm long and would not grow to adult length for several months.
Fantails use their tails to make sharp turns while flying and for display purposes
The tails may certainly assist in the capture of insects but they are not essential as adult fantails that have for some reason lost their tails have been observed flying and catching insects without too much trouble.
Fantails use three main methods to catch insects.
‘‘Hawking’’ is when they fly into a swarm of flying insects, catching as many as they can.
‘‘Flushing’’ is used in thick foliage when the fantail disturbs resting insects before catching and eating.
And ‘‘feeding associations’’ occurs when a fantail follows a larger bird or animal and catches insects that are disturbed.
Trampers in the bush are often followed by fantails. Back to the young fantails in the nest.
At 10pm another photograph was taken. It was an interesting sight.
The mother fantail was sitting on one of the youngsters.
There was no room under her for the second youngster so it was perched on the rim of the nest with just its head tucked under its mother’s wing.
It didn’t look like a very restful position. Clearly, the nest was now too small for this fantail family.
Next morning they were all gone.
The nest was empty.
The night before the fantails left the nest.