MENEER

The relatively tame Common Fiscal we have dubbed Meneer used to fly back and forth collecting food to feed a growing family. Competition was fierce for not only was there the long-established ringed Common Fiscal to contend with, but at one point a third one joined the fray. Meneer was in the pound seats though for he had early on established a relationship with me as a source of food. He began by perching on my toe, then on my knee, or he sometimes perched on the edge of my bowl of breakfast. Each time he would gently take a small titbit of food from my hand and fly off, to return again and again. He could thus afford to bypass the other two fiercely fighting fiscals and come straight to me. Then he stopped. The breeding season has tailed off and there is no longer an urgent need to fill frantically gaping mouths. I thought our relationship had ended until Meneer recently perched on the trunk of a cabbage tree, just above my head.

He looked at me quizzically as if to say “Where’s the food?” I was drinking tea. “Wait there,” I told him and rose to cut a piece of fish into tiny blocks.

I moved to the garden table and he followed. Instead of snatching the food from the shallow dish, Meneer remembered his manners and looked at me intently, waiting for me to place a piece of fish in my hand. He took it gently and flew into the tangle of branches nearby to eat it. He returned for another handout before flying off.

He still appears now and then and, if I do not have anything immediately at hand, waits until I fetch something for him. He never stays for long and usually only takes one offering. It is almost as if he is telling me not to forget him, for the time will come again when he will require my assistance once more.

28 thoughts on “MENEER

  1. Wow – that’s amazing! We can sometimes walk up to the feeder and they don’t fly off immediately (probably because they are so intent on feeding they don’t notice you coming) but once they spot you they’re gone. Thinking back, the nearest I got to a wild bird was on a walk in Wales, where a (European) Robin decided to stay put while I took several pictures from about 2 feet away. It must be a fantastic feeling to hand feed your very own bird.

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    • This Common Fiscal has charmed me by befriending me so gradually and of its own accord over several months. It was in the midst of the breeding season that it began approaching me as soon as I opened the door to the garden. Neither of the other fiscals will come that close to me. It is a wild bird so comes and goes as it pleases – a special bird indeed and I know how fortunate I am 🙂

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    • Carol, I have missed you! How good of you to ‘pop in’ again. I cannot tell exactly when this relationship began, but it has been led by Meneer all the way. I feel very privileged indeed and was thrilled when he took food from my young grandson’s hand in December. That was a very special experience!

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  2. This is indeed an extraordinary relationship. I have never had a bird actually land on me. I must be too fidgety. Ha.. which is true no doubt. This is a cute little bird.

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    • It is indeed an honour for me. This morning, however, manners were not his strong point. I placed my tea tray (which contained two tiny blocks of fish, just in case) on the table in the garden then put out some apples … a flash of white whizzed past me … I looked up in time to see Meneer snatching a square of fish and flying off. I waited for nearly an hour, but he didn’t return. He may have felt threatened or was particularly hungry … doubtless he will visit again.

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    • Long may it last too! He was waiting for me this morning when I filled the bird feeders with seed and put out cut apples. I brought out a tiny piece of fish in my open hand; he alighted on my hand, took the fish and flew off, returning about twenty minutes later to collect a second one. I had finished my tea by then and was about to leave, when he perched on the table with an expectant look in his eye 🙂

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