Article: Farmers back plan to farm 'delicious'protected bird (NZ Weka)

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Subject: Article: Farmers back plan to farm 'delicious'protected bird (NZ Weka)
From: "Andrew Bell" <>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 20:47:18 +0930
I've recently returned from a family holiday in NZ (south) where I found a
little dedicated birding time. Highlights were Saddleback, Hi Hi
(Stitchbird) and Kaka (Karori Sanctuary Wellington), Rifleman - an
extraordinary ancient passerine (Lake Ohau) and Kea (Mt Cook, Fox and Franz
Josef Glaciers). I was keen to see a Weka and was very excited by my first
fleeting glimpse of one on the West Coast of the South Island, but then at
Cape Foulwind they were pursuing tourists in the car park for food and there
was even one out on the rocks picking around a seal colony.  They are very
engaging birds, but I must say I wasn't tempted to eat one -  but I do
harbour a dark secret - I have trouble turning down Australian Bustard when
its offered by it's traditional hunters. "Bush turkey" remains an important
food item in remote Aboriginal communities - fortunately they remain very
common in these parts, I regularly see them on the outskirts of Katherine on
the way to work and they are a constant hazard at remote airstrips including
Katherine airport (where last year I was told an F/A-18 Hornet fighter was
also damaged after a collision with an Echidna, but I haven't verified that

I'm not sure wild populations of species have been domesticated for food
have a good record, and one hopes commercial consumption of NZ's amazing
endemic species is not an "idea with legs".

(I dipped out on the Black Stilt - I visited the captive breeding facility
at Twizle to be told I had been parked the previous day at Mt Cook right
near one the of the release sites - there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm amongst
three teenage boys for adding a couple of hundred kilometers to the trip by
going back, especially with all the hedonistic pursuits of Queenstown
beckoning - mutiny would have been the probable outcome. A north to south NZ
birding trip, sans non birders,  is a future holiday to look forward to). 


Andrew Bell
Katherine NT

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of brian fleming
Sent: Thursday, 4 February 2010 12:23 PM
To: Dave Torr; 
Subject: Article: Farmers back plan to farm
'delicious'protected bird (NZ Weka)

The first I ever knew of the Tas. Native-hen was an article in Crosbie
Morrison's "Wildlife" Magazine - captioned "No Flier but can it run!".

A number of rails are listed as edible in old cookery books, notably the
Corncrake or Landrail.  I recall an elderly Australian cookery book which
recommended that the Pukeko alias Swamphen should be first skinned and then
jugged like a hare...

My interest is theoretical only. Old recipes for Parrot Pie are clearly
adapted from the English Pigeon Pie.

Anthea Fleming


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