For three nights we stayed in a small city called Te Anau. We went to Te Anau so we could visit either Milford or Doubtful Sound. We ended up going on a Nature Cruise around Milford Sound. My mom was scared that she would get seasick when we found out that we would be spending 10 minutes out on the Tasman Sea. As it turned out, there was nothing for her to worry about. The sea wasn't exactly smooth but it didn't make her sick. The cruise wasn't exactly amazing. We saw a few seals, a Fiordland Crested Penguin and a lot of waterfalls.
The highlight (for me) of all of Te Anau was seeing the Kea on the drive to and from Milford Sound. To learn about Kea continue reading.
The Truth About Kea
The Clowns of the Mountains
A Kea is a bird in the parrot family. The Kea is closely related to the Kākā, the Norfolk Island Kākā, the Chathamis Island Kākā, and the Kākāpō. Kea are the only alpine parrot. They are cheeky birds who are full of a curiosity and have a great intelligence which gives them the ability of solve problems they encounter, as a human might.
Kea are mainly olive green. Each of their feathers have black edges. Kea have a blue-green tail and lower wing feathers, and their lower backs and under-wings have yellow, orange, and red feathers, making them very vibrantly colored while in flight. The Kea's top part of its beak is long and curved ending in a sharp point. This they use for tearing food.
Kea are omnivores like humans. They eat roots, leaves, berries, nectar, insects, and sometimes other birds and mammals. Occasionally Kea eat sheep by either eating the dead or attacking the live. They fly onto a sheep's back and tear into the flesh to consume the fat. The assault isn't always fatal for the sheep but it may die of disease or blood loss. This earns the Kea its less cheerful nickname of “the feathered wolf.” Farmers used to kill the Kea for attacking their sheep but in 1986 the Kea received full protection.
Kea breed from July to January. They nest in holes in trees, on the ground, in burrows, and in crevices in rocks. The females lay 2 to 4 eggs that have to be incubated for about 29 days. A female Kea is ready for reproduction by the age of 3 and males at 4 to 5 years.
Kea earned their nick name “the clowns of the mountains” because they are comical birds and they love to destroy things. Kea will rip up sleeping bags, the rubber parts of cars, shoes, back packs, and just about anything else they can get their beaks on. Campers in 'Kea Zones' have to be careful about what they leave out at night otherwise they may wake up and find that their shoes don't fit any more or the food seemed to have a party outside!
Like I said Kea love to rip up cars!
This kea decided to hide under our car! Thankfully he didn't damage anything.
Kea are amazing birds that love to have fun. No matter if you like the Kea or not you have to admit they are one of a kind! Those naughty little birds!