"She came singing in crispy telegraphic notes,
and dancing in foxtrot, her tail spread like a fan wagging..."
Living with Nature School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday
Photos by Mark Gene Rotor(Sony Cyber-shot optical zoom 4x)
Lesson: Who are considered naturalists. Are you one of them? Discover this wonderful field of study as a past time, a hobby, or just simple therapy. Take the outdoor with a camera, pencil and pad, and a positive view of life. Why don't you take your family or friends along?Friendly fantail or pandangera, Rhipidura albolimbata. Side and rear views of the nesting bird on the lower branches of a mango tree at home in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur. (Holy Week, 2011)
Intricate weave of nest made of fine plant materials and cemented with silk from spider web. Nest is securely perched at the fork of a branch where predators find it hard to reach. The nest proper is cuplike, tidy and smooth, while the lower part is roughly made and freely hanging to provide camouflage and counter balance.
She came singing in crispy telegraphic notes,
and dancing in foxtrot, her tail like a fan,
fanning, closing like shutter, and opening
again, and spreading like peacock's tail,
this Maria Kapra children call for fun.
In our native tongue she is lawlawigan,
all for her manners neither wild nor tame;
wagtail to some, but unnamed and unknown
to the citybred, and those on the move,
who miss her song, her ways antic yet mild.
She rides on animals and preys on pests,
earning a name, the shepherd's companion,
and dares close to people to share their food
with a mate - what a happy pair they make!
and in their nest culminates their union.
She has a bit of Gabriela, though coy as nymph,
Storm the Bastille she fights with her mate -
feline or man, until their young are weaned.
Triumph fills the air with lesson to learn
To buoy the world from its sinking faith.
Dare to kill the lovely pandangera -
like killing a mockingbird* is shame;
to silence the happy and gay, the symbol
of peace, friendship with farmers and children -
is a toll for Nature's beauty and fame. ~
*To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel made into a movie.
Fantail bird in coinage in India and New Zealand,
Some Features of the Fantails or Pandangera
- Fantails are small insectivorous birds of southern Asia and Australasia belonging to the genus Rhipidura in the family Rhipiduridae.
- The colours of most species are greys, blacks, whites and browns, although a few species have yellow or even striking blue feathers. In most species there is no sexual dimorphism in plumage.
- They are highly active birds, continuously on the move; even when perched they continue to rock back and forth, spin 180° on the spot, wag their tail from side to side or fan and unfan it. In flight they are highly agile and undertake highly aerobatic and intricate looping flights.
- Most of the species are small, about 15 to 18 cm long, aerial feeders,hunting insects on the wing, but they also concentrate equally on terrestrial prey.
- In some species the tail is longer than the body and the wings. When at rest the tail is folded, rounded at the tip, but when spread it assumes a characteristic fan shape that gives the bird its name.
- Most fantails are sedentary and undertake no migration. They have a wide range of habitats, prefering rainforests, thickets and lately agricultural and urban environments.
- Fantails are territorial and aggressively defend their territories from conspecifics (other members of the same species), as well as other predators. I am a witness to a pair of fantails attacking a cat trespassing under their nest on a balete tree at UST Manila. The incident happened at dusk as the cat was about to climb the tree.
- Male and female share in nest building, incubation and chick feeding, and in defending their young and territory. I have read that fantails also employ a defense strategy with the female distracting a potential predator by feigning injured and luring the predator away from the nest, while the male attacks the predator repeatedly until it moves away.