Thursday, March 18, 2010

Polly Wants Some Rubber

We had been duly warned--by travel writers, bloggers, friends, and even the National Park Ranger--Keas would eat anything and everything that you left out at your campsite.  So all of our personal belongings we safely tucked away in the camper van.
We had retired early, the long drive and the several hour time change had left us beat.  The sun had barely set when our heads hit the pillow.  It wasn't long before Mark fell into the the rhythmic breathing of deep sleep and I was quickly following in his footsteps.  Suddenly there was a loud thumping on the roof of the camper van.  Just our luck, a Kea was attacking the pop up window--I couldn't help but wonder if this is why the screen was broken in the first place.  I jumped to my feet and began to beat the roof, in an attempt to scare it away. It flew to the ground and I could only hope that it wasn't attacking the vehicles tires.  To my relief it just stood below the window glaring at me with its beady little eyes.  The cheeky little guy let out a shrilling call before it flew off into the night.
Keas are a large species of parrot.  Its plumage is olive-green and it has orange feathers on the undersides of its wings.  It has a large narrow curved beak.  Its diet consists mainly of roots, leaves, berries, nectar, insects, and on occasions carrion.
The Kea is the world's only mountainous parrot and is found of the South Island of New Zealand.  The birds ability to survive in the harsh alpine environment is attributed to the birds inquisitive nature and its remarkable intelligence.  The species also has a couple physical characteristics: a long, strong,ice pick like beak, and clamp-on like feet which also contribute its ability to survive in the high mountains.
It is believed that there are between 1,000 and 5,000 Keas left in New Zealand.  Use the following link to watch an informative documentary about this mischievous bird.

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