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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Birds of a Feather

The Rimutaka Forest Park covers a large area of natural habitat and is home to many bird species, both native and introduced.  The  melodious song of the Tui rang out all day long.  Early settlers named the Tui the “Parson Bird” as it has a white tuft of feathers at the throat.  The most noisy birds at the park was a small flock of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.  These raucous birds fly around the tall trees screeching and sounding  like they are all in the middle of an nasty argument!!  These native  Australian birds  were brought into New Zealand as cage birds and the wild population are either escapees or have been released.  

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Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

On Saturday afternoon we wandered along one of the  many walking tracks through the native bush.   Overhead we heard the clumsy Kereru (New Zealand Pigeon) landing heavily in the trees as it searched for karaka berries.  Standing quietly, we peered up through the foliage and were amused to see the birds hanging upside down as they gobbled up the berries.  

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View of Rimutaka Forest Park

Rimutaka Forest Park is part of the  Kiwi Recovery programme.  Eggs are taken from nearby Mount McKerrow and the chicks are raised at the Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre.  When they are big enough to defend themselves against predators the Kiwis are fitted with radio transmitters and released.  A regular check is made on their whereabouts to determine their safety.

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We were surprised to see some Californian Quails looking for titbits around the BBQ area early on Sunday morning.  They looked almost comical with their plumes bobbing about as  they pecked around in  the grass looking for insects.  These birds were introduced into New Zealand in 1860s as game birds and are obviously well settled in this area.

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