Friday, 10 December 2010

The Kea

Adrian in a comment on my previous post asked "Have you still got those Parakeet type birds that trash cars...if so rent a car and get some pictures."  The answer is in the affirmative.   The bird is the Kea.  We don't have them in the North Island but on the West Coast of the South Island they are plentiful enough even though they are an endangered species.   The problem with the Kea is that it is a loved and hated creature.  (Just like the rest of us then.)  Loved because it is an endearing and comical figure which is curious and unafraid and 'befriends' tourists.  Hated because it has been known to kill even healthy sheep and has a rather unendearing habit of removing the rubber from around car windscreens and generally causing damage to anything that can be pulled off a car.

The following picture was, I think, taken by the Homer Tunnel on the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound in South Island in early 2007.


  1. That's my boy. Loved if it's someone else's car hated if it's mine

  2. Kill SHEEP??? Huh? And rip off the rubber around windshields??? Aww, say it ain't so! He's so cute! I can see why he would endear tourists. I'd be right up there swooning over him! :)

    I wonder if you know what "sundowners" means in Australia? The place that is training Wilson is called Sundowners (the father was Australian), and I know it's not the same meaning as in the U.S.

  3. I had no idea!!! And I thought my neighbor's cats were a nuisance...(climbing my fence and picking fights with my dogs...) Oh my....

  4. Adrian: Ah but while you're laughing at someone else they're round the back pulling your tyres to pieces!

    Lisa: They kill the sheep by ripping the wool and fat off their backs and the sheep usually actually die of blood poisoning.

    In NZ (and Oz I think) a Sundowner used to be a vagrant. The term came about because they used to look for food and lodging at sundown when there was no longer work to be had. What does it mean in the US?

    Cynthia: These chaps may look cute but their beaks are strong and sharp enough to take a finger off near enough. I wouldn't tangle with one that's for sure.

  5. Thanks GB!
    In the U.S. its called sundowner's syndrome. It's confusion, and agitation that happens in some people with dementia or alzeimers. It comes on in the late afternoon or early evening when the sun goes down. Some sites say it may be that the person is so overwhelmed by stimulation or activities during the day, that their inability to function at night turns in to irritibility, anxiousness, and inability to sleep. I didn't say that very well, but hopefully you get the idea.
    I've also heard that term used for the confusion that can happen when an elderly person is taken out of their normal environment.