This post is for World Bird Wednesday.
Trip Part 6
Every country has some special birds and New Zealand is no exception. I was fortunate to see some of them - and unfortunate to miss some of the birds I remembered as fairly common when I grew up over there.
As we waited at the Homer Tunnel to drive through to Milford Sound a Kea came to investigate us - but it was only just getting light and we were in a hurry to get to our cruise on time so I didn't even try for photos. Later on while we were at Fox Glacier on the west coast I was lucky to see another one that certainly didn't mind posing for my camera. Kea are only found in forested and Alpine areas of South New Zealand. They are about 48cms or 19ins long. They are intelligent, inquisitive and very destructive. Scientists studying them found that they can quite easily master 2-part puzzles to get to food rewards. They can also master puzzles that require two of them to work together. We remembered one coming and sitting on the front of our car when we were children traveling with our parents all those years ago. It was attracted by some of the picnic our Mum had rested on the dash just inside the front windscreen. We children were delighted - but our Dad was much less so when the bird started pulling the windscreen wipers apart! The one we saw this time at the Fox Glacier was attracted by some people in the parking lot who were resting in chairs outside their camper with things scattered around on the ground. It then marched around looking for whatever might be in reach.
It even put on a display preening what appeared to be its mate.
And finally demonstrated just how loudly it could scream. The only thing we did not see was the beautiful orange color under its wings.
The Takahe is a large flightless bird belonging to the Rail family. It is 63cms or nearly 35ins long. There were four birds taken from the wild in 1898 and then no more seen for 50 years. It was assumed to be extinct but then in 1948 some were found in mountainous country in Fiordland in the South Island. Now, they are being bred in captivity and released into the wild. However, once again, it is a very slow process and there are only about 220 known birds today. The ones I saw and photographed were in the wildlife center run by the Department of conservation at Te Anau. It was raining while I was there and I was photographing through the wire of the enclosure so the photos are not good quality but I was pleased to even see these birds and getting photos was a bonus!