I love Willy Wagtails (Rhipidura leucophrys). Jiri Jiri is the Noongar word for Willy Wagtails and that’s what I call them. I learnt this when a Noongar story-teller came to the library I worked at a few years ago. We sang a song about Jiri Jiri, but I can’t remember the song. (I think some other WA Aboriginal languages also use the word Jiri Jiri for Willy Wagtail.) Jiri Jiri are so fearless and will confront anything. They’re rarely scared away by people and so it seems like they want to be your friend because they will come so close. It’s more likely that they know insects are disturbed by our movements and activities.
The other week I saw two Jiri Jiri dive-bombing a kookaburra at the local school. The kookaburra was just sitting there, taking it for a while. It was very funny to watch. Unfortunately dusk was coming on and the photos I took didn’t work out.
In happier photography news, when I was taking photos of the Christmas trees at Curtin University in December I saw a Jiri Jiri. He flew from his perch before I got my camera out. Not to worry, he’d only flown off to snatch an insect from the air and proudly display his meal and the eating of it for my enjoyment. I’ve always known Jiri Jiri eat insects, but I usually think of them eating flies and other small insects. Now I know they’ll quite happily take on a dragon fly for a tasty meal.
You can see more (and bigger) photos of Jiri Jiri vs the dragon fly on Flickr.