No Birds Today?

Dear Friends,

When I was in New Zealand there was one thing I really wanted to do and that was to meet a kiwi. Now I don’t mean human kiwis; they were everywhere! I was in search of New Zealand’s most well-known inhabitant, the feathered variety. Those of you who have been receiving my letters for a while will remember my past unpleasant experiences with birds, but I was sure that this time would be different.

For one thing kiwis are flightless birds so there was no chance that I could be whisked away, and because kiwis are as much like mammals as they are like birds I felt quite safe. Their bones are not hollow like birds’ bones but filled with marrow. They have cat-like whiskers, large nostrils and visible ears all of which help them in their nocturnal wanderings. Kiwis’ feathers are more like shaggy hair and they have tiny wings and no tail. Some scientists even refer to them as honorary mammals.

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In Rotorua the best place to see kiwis is at Rainbow Springs and I was full of anticipation when I went there.

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Even this sign in the driveway was thrilling to see.

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I was expecting to see kiwis wandering around the park mingling with the tourists and I wasn’t disappointed.

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 But it was the real thing I was looking for and I searched high and low. There was evidence of them everywhere.

Eventually I found this sign. Could I finally be on the trail of a real live kiwi?

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Yes, not just one kiwi but four! Two chicks, only a few days old and curled up fast asleep, and two adults who were scrabbling in the leaf mulch with their long beaks. It was so funny to watch as they ran back and forth, up and over the logs like wind-up toys. My dream had come true, but I have nothing to show you – no cameras were allowed.

Luckily the “no camera” rule did not apply in the Wairere Café…

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…or the gift shop.

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Soft and sweet – two of my favourite things!

Justin.

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3 Comments

  1. JB you make me want to go back there, at least for a holiday. Did you enjoy a hot pool while on the trail of a flightless bird?

    • No I ran out of time for a hot pool experience but it is definitely on my “next time” list.

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