Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Skiing New Zealand: The Treble Cone Kea Parrot

By on September 7, 2007 in New Zealand

This is seriously cool – the at Treble Cone Kea Parrot. OK, so they are not exclusive to the Treble Cone ski area, but it was the first place I saw them.

At Treble Cone I saw a lot of parrots. Yes, parrots. New Zealand has the worlds only mountain parrot, called a Kea (Nestor notabilis), and there are stacks of them around Treble Cone.  The birds are confined to the mountain areas on New Zealand’s south island.

On the previous days skiing I had heard a strange bird call (keeeeaaaaa), and couldn’t work out what was producing it, today I found out, it is the Kea (Nestor notabilis).

The birds nest in the rock crevices and seem perfectly happy wandering around in the snow (I watched two from a lift walk up a snowy slope, totally unfazed by all the white stuff).  The birds are fully protected, but there is a problem; they like stalking humans for food.  While I sat in the cafe area at Treble Cone, I watched 10 or 12 birds scanning the crowd looking for opportunities to steal food.  I watched as one bird opened an unattended sushi box and made off with the California Rolls. Human food is not good for them, but they seem to love it. I have also heard of the birds opening bottles of drink!

Treble Cone Parrot - the Kea (Nestor notabilis)

Treble Cone Parrot – the Kea (Nestor notabilis)

Kea (Nestor notabilis)

Treble Cone Parrot – the Kea (Nestor notabilis)

The parrots are highly intelligent and spend a great deal of the day playing – this play, however, tends to be destructive to human property.  When I asked around I heard stories of ski gloves being shredded, and rubber removed from cars (apparently they can strip the rubber from around the windscreen, thus causing the windscreen to fall out when driving home down the steep mountain road). In the summer they can even shred tents with their powerful beaks.

The food stealing Kea (Nestor notabilis)

The food stealing Kea (Nestor notabilis)

The windscreen destroying Kea (Nestor notabilis)

The windscreen destroying Kea (Nestor notabilis)

They are great fun to watch!

So, if you are skiing Treble Cone watch out for Nestor notabilis – The Kea Parrot, and don’t forget to check the rubber around the windscreen before you leave the parking lot!

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