I have seen a kea

Well, just one, but it was a long story that almost ended in failure, with victory pulled from the flames at the last possible moment. And anyway, seeing one is sufficient. Details and more photos follow tomorrow.

50 Comments

  1. Veroxitatis
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Congratulations Professor.

  2. eric
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Jerry, your travels to see the kea remind me a bit of this cartoon. What if you travel to NZ, see remarkable places, meet people you would never otherwise meet, experience a different culture, and all you see is one kea? 🙂

    • Leigh
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Love your cartoon — too bad this was not the attitude adopted on 1973 during the 1st “OPEC crisis” Can’t imagine where we would be now

    • Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure what you mean. I’ve been to incredible places and met nice people, and will meet many more people and go to many more places. I was simply determined to see a kea in the “wild.”

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        I think what eric was getting at was, the trip will have been worth it (we hope) even if you never saw a kea.

        cr

        • eric
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          Indeed! I would greatly envy your trip to NZ, even if you spent interminable hours on multiple bus trips to not-see a parrot. Because you’d still have seen NZ, and I have not. 🙂

  3. Taskin
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Yay!

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Success, the great bird has been seen.

  5. Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Hurray! And it looks like you got REALLY CLOSE! 🙂

    • eric
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      He (or she) is a real cutie. Which brings up a question for the kea experts: is there any way to tell a he from a she in a picture like this?

      • Darren Garrison
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        While not foolproof, you could try crouching down and seeing if it attempts to have sex with your neck.

        • eric
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          That’s for kakapos, not keas. 🙂

        • Kiwi Dave
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          Is neckrophilia legal?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            😎

            You win the thread!

            cr

          • Diane G.
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

            Ha ha!

  6. bluemaas
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Serendipitously, Dr Coyne, (whilst date – stamped as of 21 March 2017, online), this morning’s Morning Edition in USA, 23 March 2017, radio – wise, featured a snippet out of thus: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/21/520998044/this-parrot-has-an-infectious-laugh-scientists-say !

    Congratulations !
    Blue

  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Snatching victory from the beaks of defeat?
    Actually, looking at those beaks and the talons, snatching victory from de beaks and de feet while keeping all fingers attached is some achievement.

  8. busterggi
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Crouching kea, hidden moa?

    • Andy
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      We’ll have no moa of that.

      • eric
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Rheagarding your pun, I’d be cassowary of getting blocked. Not everyone finds them emusing.

        • Andy
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          So you’re robin me of humor? (I tried and tried to make something out of phainopepla, but I’m not as good as I’d hoped.)

          • eric
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            Try kiwikipedia for some ideas.

            (And by the way, why hasn’t some enterprising New Zealander started a page about NZ titled “Kiwikipedia”? Seems like a glaring omission in the internet’s offerings, now that I think about it.)

          • Mark Sturtevant
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            Kea, O’ strich one of you started this, and wren will it stop??

  9. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Woo-hoo! Check that one off the ‘ol list! I am happy for you.

  10. rickflick
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Quite a life’s achievement. Your camera has video mode doesn’t it? I’d like to see you in conversation with the little beast, if possible.

  11. ploubere
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    A beautiful bird! He/she seems to be double banded.

  12. Claudia Baker
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Yay!

  13. Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Gone one better than me and I live in NZ, albeit in the Nth Island where mountains are far and few.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Though we (North Island) do have a couple of real mountains (Taranaki and Ruapehu, both volcanoes and therefore not of great extent as mountain ranges go) and many rugged hill ranges up to about 5000 feet which would certainly be classed as mountains back in England – no we don’t have any kea in North Island. Other than ‘vagrants’. (So says Wikipedia).

      cr

  14. Leigh
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful bird.

  15. Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    He’s a cheeky one!

  16. Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    That’s one curved bill!

  17. ToddP
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Congrats! That’s a strange, beautiful bird. The featheration is neat, with some gorgeous colors.

  18. Curt Nelson
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I have seen the kea and he is us.

  19. Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Hey are you visiting us in New Zealand?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      You’re new here aren’t you? 😉

      cr

      • Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        No, just havent been paying attention for a few months. 😊

  20. Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Little known facts…

    Keas are highly organised and operate in gangs.

    They have been known to strip a parked car of all rubber linings in under a minute. The more enterprising groups, can even jack your car up and steel your tires.

    The rubber is then sold on the black market.

    • Gordon
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      You undestimate them. It is smuggled to Finland and sold to Nouseva Myrsky (google her)to make inner tube jewelry

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

      😀 😀

  21. Gordon
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Jerry
    Hope you enjoyed the rest of the trip to Arthurs Pass as well.

  22. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I kea, you kea, we all kea for IKEA

    Couldn’t help it. Enjoying the travel notes.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Alternatively

      A kea, you kea, we all kea for …

  23. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  24. nicky
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Congratuĺation on seeing a Kea in the wild.
    Although probably less intelligent than the Kea, I would want to see a kiwi in the wild, an ‘avian mammal’, if anything.
    And some Moas and Haast’s eagles, but 😭😭😭

    • loren russell
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 12:23 am | Permalink

      Nicky — you underestimate yourself — I’m sure you are brighter than many keas.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 4:49 am | Permalink

        LOL!

      • nicky
        Posted March 25, 2017 at 1:36 am | Permalink

        😂😂😂

  25. Diane G.
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    What beautifully toned & patterned plumage!

  26. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    I remember watching a documentary that was looking at the problem solving skills of different birds. In order to get at food items inside a container the birds had to unlock it by performing various steps in sequence. Various birds were tried including tits (chickadees) and crows and it was remarkable to see the complexity of the puzzles they could solve. Keas were also involved in the test and they too invariably managed to get at the food. Trouble was, however hard the experimenters tried, the Keas always managed to subvert the test by getting at the food in the ‘wrong’ way! Very smart and fascinating birds; I would love to see one in the wild.


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