A remarkable photo taken from inside a garage in New Zealand reveals the rarely seen behavior by a flock of fantail birds—as many as 23 of them—jammed tightly together on an electrical cord.
More common is seeing birds socially spaced out on an electrical wire, but when it gets cold the New Zealand fantail bird species is known to huddle tightly together in an effort to stay warm. It's just rare for people to witness such an event, natural history authority Neville Peat told the Otago Daily Times.
The fantail is a tiny bird and is susceptible to prolonged cold and predators, but the species survives because of its high breeding productivity, and sticking together during cold snaps.
"They huddle together in such roosts for warmth, the most dominant birds taking the center positions, forcing the immature and more subordinate to the edges where they are at the mercy of the elements," New Zealand Birds explained.
Jim Columb of Dunedin on the Otago Peninsula took the photo just before it began to snow. He told The Guardian it's only the third time in 25 years he's seen the fantail birds roosting communally.
"It was quite fun watching them standing all over each other," Columb told the Otago Daily Times.
"It looks like someone has spread the word and they all knew where the choice spot was—in Jim's garage. But yes, it is sort of a phenomenon."
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