See the rules for Name That Bird here.
Bertie Wings It! tells the story of Bertie, a bird excited to take his first flight, only to be grounded by some bird-splaining feathered friends who claim he ain’t ready yet. Themes covered include believing in yourself and the inanity of bureaucracy! Bertie, a little yellow bird, is our adorable, determined protagonist.
Bertie is a cutie for sure with his small, compact body, warm yellow color, streaked breast, green sides and stylish black and white glasses. Illustrator Brendan Kearney lives in England (FYI: Brendan draws species-specific birds like, really well. Check out this amazing gallery here.) so you’d think birds of the U.K. would be my target here.
NOT SO FAST.
This book actually has TONS of other birds in it, but only three of them are named by species:
Also, a very clear Flamingo as a background character. (And Toucans…but I’m just going to assume those are some escaped pets.)
Conclusion: these aren’t your mama’s English birds.
Doing a little research I discovered that there is one place on Earth with both Penguins and Emus, plus a history with Flamingos – and Kiwis just a boat ride away.
Australia! Bertie is a Aussie. And since he’s clearly not a Kookaburra or a Splendid Fairy-wren (aka the only two Australian birds I know) this just turned into an adventure Y’AAAAAAALLL!
A little more research led me to the very wonderful and useful site, Birdlife Australia. I learned a lot about Australian birds and found a quite few candidates for Bertie’s species.
First up, the Pale-yellow Robin:
Compact body? Check. Yellow and green coloring? Check! Streaked breast? Check check! Even the nest looks dead on:
But, is the head too grey to be a good match? May-haps.
Next, we’ll take a look at the humble Yellow Thornbill.
This little bird is a tree dweller, like Bertie, and is serving a perfect combo of yellow and olive green. There is even some streaking on it’s throat (and face, but we won’t mention that.) But, the nest of the Yellow Thorn Bill is domed…and while Bertie’s has a nice canopy, the nest itself is decidedly dome-less.
Next up, the Golden Whistler:
I know what you’re thinking: Phaea – that bird has a back and white hood! What are you, blind?? First of all, calm down. Second, what if Bertie’s black and white glasses are just a clever interpretation of the Golden Whistler’s head and chin field marks? After all, we have our yellow and olive sides present and accounted for. Add in their “shallow bowl nest” and I think we have a real contender here.
But…there’s also this fine fellow:
Meet the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. Isn’t that sweet? For me, the coloring is dead-on, and the black pattern on it’s face even LOOKS like glasses (or sunglasses…? Close enough!) The only downside is that long, long tail. Bertie has a short one. Hmmmm.
Never before in the weeks-old history of Name That Bird has a decision been so hard! Clearly, Bertie is a bit of an outlier within his species. So, is he a short-tailed Honeyeater? A thornbill with a bizarro nest? A Pale-yellow Robin with a strangely yellow head? A Golden Whistler with glasses instead of a hood???
After much deliberation, I have concluded that Bertie is, in fact a…
Why the yellow head? Well, since he is just flying for the first time it’s obvious Bertie is still a juvenile with more muddied coloring. His head will turn grey in a few months! CASE CLOSED.
To catch a glimpse of this adorable bird IRL, check along the edges of rainforests and eucalypt forests in both Northeastern Queensland and Australia’s southeastern coast.
What do you think – did I get this one right? I’d love to hear from any Aussie birders out there!