Destination: New Zealand
This awesome travel story “Meeting a Kea” was written by Nina, from Nina Out and About.
If you are a travel writer or a travel blogger and want to share your travel story here, with your name and website included, let me know!
New Zealand is home to one of the most diverse populations of bird life on the planet. Now, I’m not a big “bird person,” but you can’t help falling in love with the strange creatures that roam the mini-continent.
From nocturnal kiwis to the little bush bird that walks like a dinosaur, they’re enchanting!
I say this to lead up to my
the time I met a Kea.
Kea’s are the only alpine parrot on the planet. This means that they have a very different colour scheme to most. Rather than being bright green or red, they’re a muted grey-green that blends in with their surroundings.
They’re also one of the smartest birds on the planet.
You can imagine that a brilliant parrot encountering bus loads of tourists would have a rather entertaining end. And it does.
I was touring the deep south of New Zealand on a tour bus. We stopped at a glacial river to refill our water bottles and marvel at some mountains (I can’t remember which – New Zealand has a lot of mountains!) when my friend pointed it out: a Kea.
The bird was hopping amongst a group of tourists who had their cameras trained on its little face. The Kea wasn’t headed towards them. Instead, it was heading towards an unsuspecting girl trying to photograph the mountains.
The chubby parrot hopped right up to her leg and used it’s long, curved beak to nip her ankle! The poor girl shrieked and ran from the bird. Unmoved by her fear, the Kea turned back to us with what looked like a smug expression. It seemed proud of its little show and waddled near other people as though to say, “Do you want to be next?”
Keas are spectacular birds.
Their talons are about half the size of their body. And their beaks curve twice as long as any other parrot I know of. Their little golden eyes have the wisdom of an owl, but the mischief of a …
The Kea, bored with modelling for photos, took flight to roof of a van. It unfurled its wings and revealed a spectacular pattern of gold, orange and green on the underside of its wings. They shimmered in the morning light as the bird headed to a windshield to try and tear the wipers off the van.
I’d never heard of Keas before coming to New Zealand, but I think I now have a favourite bird. The impish creatures are both one of the most brilliant and most aggravating birds in the world.
Who wouldn’t fall in love with an animal like that?
Nina Out and About