Fairy Wren short tail

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robynalcockroddis_1
Fairy Wren short tail

Hello sorry if this is a dumb question.  I saw a Superb Fairy Wren at the beach yesterday It was smaller than usual overall it had full breeding plumage but had an abnormally short tail(probably 1/2 what I'd expect).  Can anyone tell me if that's normal for the young, as not what I'd expect.

Thanks Robyn

Woko
Woko's picture

Not something I’d expect, Robyn. Perhaps it was an escapee from the maws of a moggie. Also, I would think it unusual to see a Fairy-wren at the beach unless there is habitat right to the beach edge. 

Devster
Devster's picture

The young do tend to grow into their tails.

robynalcockroddis_1

Yes I did wonder if something had chopped the tail as they are so distinctive.  There is quite a lot of shrubbery protecting the dunes (great for them to hide in) also some native planting in the carpark which may attract the insects they need.  I saw a different wren here  last week haven't seen them before but we have only lived here 18 months and I mostly go to the beach in warmer weather, so that may affect sightings.  Still it brought joy to my day.

Woko
Woko's picture

That's interesting. The breeding plumage would suggest it's not a juvenile so the moggie's maws escape hypothesis might still hold.

Can you say in what part of Australia you're living so that a more precise identification of this species might be made?

I can't recall having seen a Fairy-wren near the beach but I guess if the habitat is suitable it's a possibility. Fairy-wrens, at least the Superb Fairy-wren with which I'm most familiar, like to forage in open spaces but close to shrubs where they can seek protection if necessary. Perhaps the car park with nearby native plantings plus the dune vegetation provides relatively high quality habitat.

I'm also interested & can identify with your delight at having seen this bird. To be in, even contribute to, natural habitat that attracts our wonderful native birds is, I believe, one of life's most fulfilling excitements, especially when we consider the damage to natural habitats which is so widespread.

aussie8
aussie8's picture

Hi,  If I may make a comment.  A few years ago I discovered a Super Fairy wren on my lawn in the very early morning.  It had a great lot of its tail feathers missing.  Obviously a cat attack, as on more times that I care to mention I found the remains [just a few  small feathers] on the lawn in the morning.    Action was taken to halt the attacks and now that the hedges are fully developed the little ones are quite safe at night.  I t has been a long time since the last bird attack. Keith

Woko
Woko's picture

Well done, Keith. We certainly need a cat-free culture in our country.

robynalcockroddis_1

Good to know Keith,  I have decided that the cat theory is probably the correct one, hadn't thought of it and have never seen a wren before with a short tail.  I miss the wrens since we moved here initially very few birds in the garden but they are gradually increasing as the garden changes and grows.  Although I was NOT feeling the love this morning when I discovered that my apricot and peach trees both bearing fruit first time so only a precious few had been raided.  The damned peaches weren't even ripe. Super grr.

Woko
Woko's picture

Getting in early with mesh protection might reduce your grrs next season, robyn. But I share your fruit pain. I've never given mesh a priority as I've been focussed on restoring natural habitat so I get few apricots. But what I miss out on apricots I gain in Diamond Firetails, White-browed Scrubwrens etc. And I support the local apricot shop!

sue818
sue818's picture

Very late to this string of comments but I observed a number of Variegated Fairywrens without tails in Bourke. There did not appear to be any cats about the camping area and it was out of town so I put it down to other bird attacks.

Sue

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