New Zealand’s alpine parrot cuts right across the aloofness of a landscape and weather that takes no prisoners, greeting us with life and curiosity that never fails to get us smiling; a feathered and garrulous court jester of our mountains.
The birds decline in numbers to under 5000 has been due to an historic century-long bounty, 120,000 having been paid out on by successive governments wanting to help the farming economy, and in more later years by them eating lead headed nails on high country shearing sheds and hut roofs, and being predated on by ever increasing numbers of stoats and other vermin.
Soon they’ll be extinct unless we keep up with widespread large-scale pest control, backed by a commitment to evolving and sound science, flavoured by innovation.
This post is a brief look at some of the current methodologies, and serendipitously while preparing it a friend in the US, Don Watson [check out his recent post on Owl Baiting by unscrupulous bird photographers], a supporter of this site, just sent this message on FaceBook:
Watched a very interesting documentary about kea’s and Caledonian crows. It was called “Beak and Brain, genius birds from down under”. Very interesting, the research going on and the problems that stoats and predators are bringing to the kea. The 1 hr. Video was on Netflix. Showed the predator trapping and a kea cave that was photographed with a stoat killing the female and her 2 chicks. Stuff that you deal with every day at Mt. Aspiring, but really interesting to see some of what you do there.
A link to the movie appears below. Meanwhile here are a few photos taken very recently in Mt Aspiring National Park, of highly skilled conservationists doing their job…
Beak & Brain: Genius Birds From Down Under | Netflix
Whoever came up with the term “bird brain” never met these feathered thinkers, who use their claws and beaks to solve puzzles, make tools and more.
Thanks also to FMC ~ Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand for their recent article inspiring, often via choice of words, me to share my experiences
NZ on Screen also has an excellent video >>
Lastly should you wish to help, then please donate to the Kea Conservation Trust >>