Birds at Play

Subject: Birds at Play
From: (Syd Curtis)
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 07:03:57 +1000
On April 19  Susan Myers enquired concerning birds that appear to play.

Is there somebody out there from the land of the long white cloud who would
be willing do justice to Keas at play?

Keas are fresh in my mind having watched (a few weeks ago) four on the roof
of a hut along the Milford Track playing with a feather - tossing it up,
catching it, wrestling good-naturedly for possession, playing 'leap-frog',
and generally having a fun time.  I also recall another occasion on the
Routeburn years ago watching Keas sliding down a steeply pitched iron roof
and flying up to repeat the process over and over.  And well up the track
in Nelson Lakes one flew onto a thin leaning small dead tree right beside
the track.  I did the obvious and gently  shook the tree.  The Kea loved
it.  Hung on, tried to keep balance, swung under and flapped up again.  Did
it deliberately wait for passing hikers to give it a ride? I've often

New Zealand does not have a large variety of land birds but they sure are
friendly.  Happy memories: a Bellbird giving a beautifully varied concert
from a perch at eye-level less than two metres from me.  Three juvenile
Grey Fantails picking off sandflies in mid-air inches in front of my face
while mother admired their newly acquired dexterity from a bush beside the
track.  A Robin having a peck at the end of my bootlace to see if it really
was a grub.

Oh yes, and NZ must surely be the safest and most friendly overseas country
an Australian could wish to visit.


Syd at Hawthorne Qld.

H Syd Curtis

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