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• Tom Leggott and Jenni Corbett, the duo behind The Tourist Birds.

There are nine Zebra Finches with extraordinary personalities who just might put our islands 'on the map'.

They are the Tourist Birds and they are the brainchild of Russell Island couple Jenni Corbett and Tom Leggott.

Originally from New Zealand, the duo moved here a little over two years ago looking for a new way of life and some new directions.

It seems they have definitely found both.

Jenni made a discovery when she decided to take up art with Macleay Island art teacher Maz Thompson (we love Maz!)

"I discovered a hidden talent, I think."

She started painting birds, Zebra Finches to be precise and, lo and behold, she sold several paintings.

Then a method, concept and a story started to evolve.

What if these birds had a personality or, more to the point, the 'odd-ball' personalities of some of Jenni and Tom's friends and family?

And what if they were the Tourist Birds - birds who can't fly to exotic destinations like their fellow Mutton Birds and other long-distance travelling feathered friends, but would dearly love to?

So evolved a family of Zebra Finches with distinct features and personalities that have already made their way into and onto websites, paintings, post cards, magnets and cups, and may have an even more exotic future!

This could include children's story and some other exciting directions.

We had better meet the Tourist Birds. There is:

• ROBERT the Speed Freak who is based on Jenni's brother;

• WILLIAM the Accident Prone Adolescent, based on Jenni's son'

• TIMOTHY the Party Animal, based on Tom's son;

• CLINTON the Ladies Man, based on someone with a former friend named Monica;

• MADONNA the Sassy and only Female who Always get her way;

• SAMUEL the Computer Geek - enough said;

• JACKSON the Hippy Bird, weird, wacky flower power;

• GILBERT The Peacemaker - love and world peace;

• BRYSEN The Bully who may not be long for this world!

With Jenni doing the artwork and Tom coming up with some rather exotic stories for their growing family of Tourist Birds, the sky is the limit.

Already there is interest from all over Australia and overseas.

The tourism elements are now featuring in local stores and tourism outlets.

Watch for more fun and excitement from the Tourist Birds.

And all you ladies out there, watch out for Clinton, the pesky loveable little bird!

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