Little Japanese birds scuttling and soaring between the limbs of trees

Visitors from all over come to see these small, snowball-shaped Japanese birds to swoon over their appeal. The images are almost too good to be true, as a skilled photographer captured the little birds “working out” using delicate tree branches as a gym.

Shima-enaga, English for “long-tailed island bird,” are often known as “snow fairies” in Japan. They are a species of long-tailed tit and can be found in the forests of Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island.


Hiroki Takahashi, a native of the island residing in Sapporo, has long been trapped by the snow fairies. After spending a month searching for snow fairies in the forest, Hiroki created a beautiful sequence of images of the little bird “at work” in December 2022.

Hiroki explained his lucky day to The Epoch Times: “The long-tailed tit is incredibly fast and very difficult to photograph, [but its] egg-like face is so adorable that I walk more than 20,000 steps a day to capture it.


Hiroki says that to get a “nice frontal photo” of the small birds, he must also adopt various postures and positions, since the long-tailed tit does not stay still in one place for long before moving in various directions.

Hiroki took several close-up images of the snow fairies’ adorable acrobatics in the canopy with his Canon EOs R5 camera and 300mm lens, including their bouncing around branches, their upside-down movements, their falls on the air and even his appearance of doing pull-ups. thick twigs.


Shima-enaga are little birds that typically weigh about one-fifth of an ounce (about 8 grams) and measure 5 to 6 inches (about 13 to 15 centimeters) as adults. They have a somewhat long tail. They are omnivores and feed mainly on insects and other invertebrates. Shima-enaga are common year-round on the island, but they really come into their own during the winter when they fluff their feathers in preparation for the extreme cold.

Adult shima-enaga lose their thick black “eyebrows,” unlike mainland long-tailed tits, so their spotless white faces with small beaks resemble upward flowing cotton balls. The tiny fluffy bird also has another important feature: If they cannot successfully mate in the spring, the іпdіⱱіdᴜаɩ birds will band together to help the other 20 to 30 birds in their flock raise their young.

Shima-enaga, a treasured symbol of the island of Hokkaido, are frequently found on trinkets and craft products.


His career as a photographer began with landscape and portrait photography, and only later, after becoming a father, did he become interested in single-lens reflex cameras. In early 2022, he began taking nature walks and took his first photographs of Ezo flying squirrels. A passion for photographing animals formed.

Hiroki was taken aback by the great feedback he received after posting his most recent snow fairy images on Instagram.


He told The Epoch Times: “It made me happy.” “Hokkaido is quite small compared to the rest of the world, but in winter the animals grow incredibly cute and fluffy fur to prepare for the cold. I would be happy if we could spread so much sweetness throughout the planet.

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