‘Narcissistic’ bird wins internet fans in Australia

A sign explaining to passers-by that the bird enjoys staring at its reflectionImage copyright
Nick Wiggins/ABC

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Wildlife expert Caitlin Raynor posted a note above the bush stone-curlew

When wildlife expert Caitlin Raynor saw a bird mesmerised with its reflection, she feared people might be concerned. So she posted a note above it.

“I’m a bush stone-curlew,” the message explained. “I’m fine. I just like to stare at myself in the window.”

But far from staving off attention, the note helped make the bird an internet star.

A photo of the scene at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, was posted online and quickly shared.

“Narcissus of the bird set,” wrote one person on Twitter. “It isn’t only we vain & self-centred humans who like to gaze upon ourselves,” wrote another.

Students at the university set up a Facebook page and shared memes.

Image copyright
Mark Zita

Image copyright
Mark Zita

Image copyright
Karissa Simpson

Mark Zita, who started the page, said the bird had attracted attention on campus, where it stood for a “good eight hours”. Initially, he and his classmates had been concerned.

But Ms Raynor, a Wildcare Australia volunteer, said it was “not abnormal” behaviour for the curlew.

“They’re primarily nocturnal so they’re not used to seeing their reflection,” she told the BBC.

“They’re not being aggressive. They’re just fascinated with the ‘other bird’ in the reflection.”

Ms Raynor said she often fielded concerned calls about the species, before putting people at ease.

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“The bird is a bit of a metaphor,” Mr Zita told the BBC.

“We all have those moments in life where we stare at the mirror for so long and go, ‘why am I doing this, why is this happening?'”

Earlier this year, Brisbane City councillor Ryan Murphy posted about a similar visitor outside his office. He nicknamed it “Sir Kerr Llew”.

“I am no stranger to odd constituents,” he wrote on Facebook. “But the obsession of this avian interloper is more than a man can bare (sic).”

Image copyright
Ryan Murphy

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Councillor Ryan Murphy joked he was “under siege”

Mr Murphy said the bird left at night before returning each day for a month.

“Like an ‘office volunteer’ who hangs around a lot, eventually I will be forced to put in on staff,” he wrote.

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