Photographer's Note

The story of New Zealand's fauna is a sorry one. The mega fauna was quickly wiped out by the Maoris who found caches meat on the hop upon their arrival in New Zealand. Much of what was not rendered extinct by them followed suit with the arrival of the Pākehā (white man). Now, a wiser populace and government are doing their best to save the remaining unique fauna(mainly birds)from extinction.

What made matters critical to the survival of native birds, including the several varieties of flightless birds such as the kiwi, was the "wise" introduction of stoats, porcupines,possums and cats (becoming feral) which prey on the eggs and the young of birds which nest in thickets or grass. Before the Europeans brought their predators, the gentle animals of N.Z. had no need to nest high and some had lost the ability to fly.

I include the saga of the kea, borrowed from Wikipedia:

The Kea (/ˈkiː.ə/; Māori: [kɛ.a]; Nestor notabilis) is a large species of parrot (superfamily Strigopoidea) found in forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. About 48 cm (19 in) long, it is mostly olive-green with a brilliant orange under its wings and has a large, narrow, curved, grey-brown upper beak. The Kea is the world's only alpine parrot.

Its omnivorous diet includes carrion, but consists mainly of roots, leaves, berries, nectar, and insects. Now uncommon, the Kea was once killed for bounty due to concerns by the sheep-farming community that it attacked livestock, especially sheep. It received full protection only in 1986.

Together with local councils and runholders, the New Zealand government paid a bounty for Kea bills because the bird preyed upon livestock, mainly sheep It was intended that hunters would kill Kea only on the farms and council areas that paid the bounty, but some hunted them in national parks and in Westland, where they were officially protected. More than 150,000 were killed in the hundred years before 1970, when the bounty was lifted. In the 1970s, the Kea received partial protection after a census counted only 5,000 birds. The government agreed to investigate any reports of problem birds and have them removed from the land. It was not until 1986 that it was given full protection under the Wildlife Act 1953.

The Kea's notorious urge to explore and manipulate makes this bird a pest for residents and an attraction for tourists. Called "the clown of the mountains", it will investigate backpacks, boots, or even cars, often causing damage or flying off with smaller items. Kea have been kept as pets before being protected, but rarely, since they were difficult to capture and destructive when in captivity.

People commonly encounter wild Kea at South Island ski areas. The Kea are attracted by the prospect of food scraps. Their curiosity leads them to peck and carry away unguarded items of clothing or to pry apart rubber parts of cars — to the entertainment and annoyance of human observers.

The photo was taken at Arthur's Pass where we stopped to have lunch at a picnic spot. On the door of a nearby cafe a sign warned customers that food stolen by the kea will not be replaced.

Royaldevon, COSTANTINO has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3580 W: 114 N: 6323] (28618)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2014-03-18
  • Categories: Nature
  • Exposure: f/10.0, 1/400 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-05-25 0:34
Viewed: 1676
Points: 10
  • None
Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3580 W: 114 N: 6323] (28618)
View More Pictures