As nature lovers and conservationists, my wife and I are fortunate enough to live in a remote wilderness area of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. While living in the wild, you get to see nature in its full glory on a daily basis with all its amazing sights and sounds. Being keen gardeners, we have established an indigenous garden around our house over the years. One of the benefits of living in such a wild area is the many wild bird species that visit our garden during the day.
I was in the house one afternoon during a weekend, when I suddenly heard my wife calling me to come outside to the garden. When I got outside, I was confused and amused at the same time, watching my wife spraying a Grey Go-away-bird with her water spraying bottle. I ran back inside to get my camera. Not only does the Grey Go-away-bird have a name that surprise most people, it is also one of the most common and easy recognizable birds in the African bush. This dull looking grey bird, with its funky upright crest, is actually one of the most reliable birds to call out an alarm when any sort of danger such as predators, snakes or raptors are spotted in the area. When this bird sounds an alarm, all animals usually respond by getting away from the danger area. Hence the name.
My wife explained that she was out in the garden, using her small watering spray bottle to water some of the plants with a fine water mist. While busy watering her plants, my wife noticed a Grey Go-away-bird coming to land in a bush right next to her. While it is common having these birds visiting our garden, none of us have ever experienced the birds to be been keen on interacting with us. The bird sat and looked at my wife spraying the plants. My wife looked at the bird and the bird intimately stared back at her and the water bottle. During this little stare down session, my wife then decided to spray a little water at the bird, seeing that it was fairly dry and warm that afternoon. What followed was the hilarious interaction between my wife and the Grey Go-away-bird which I managed to capture in this video. It seemed like the bird absolutely loved having the water sprayed on its body.
My wife turned up the tempo with more repetitive sprays. The bird amazingly reacted by starting to lift its wings, ‘asking’ to get sprayed all over the lower body and areas covered by the wings. At the same time, the bird would turn from the one side to the other side, ‘guiding’ my wife where to spray, making sure majority of its body got covered with the water. The bird never stopped enjoying it and I was totally fascinated by this bird’s behavior as we have never interacted with these birds before. If we had a larger watering spray bottle, it would have carried on for much longer. Once the water was finished, the bird gave us one last look and disappeared back into the wild. We were totally amazed by this bird pulling in for a cool down body spray on demand.