Our World of Nature

Smart birds, clever drones and the ‘Game of Bones’… 

A new view of kākāpō. As Ruby knows, tracking kākāpō through dense native bush is important but very challenging work. Now DoC is using trials of drone flights – quite literally a bird’s-eye view. The aim here is to check the movements of these precious parrots without impacting flora and fauna at ground level.

Hangdog hilarity. We’re a bit late to the Olive and Mabel love-fest but if you haven’t seen the fantastic lockdown videos from BBC commentator Andrew Cotter you’re missing out. It started with ‘Game of Bones’ and the series is getting better and better, with ‘The Walk of Shame’ and ‘The Meeting’ both hilarious accounts of life with two Labradors. Check them out here.

A plague of chickens? Yes, you read that right. The otherwise peaceful suburb of Titirangi has been inundated with feral chickens. After the flock swelled in 2019 to approximately 250 birds a trapping and re-homing system was put in place. However during the national lockdown the chickens were obviously plotting a comeback, and there are now dozens more back on the streets. Some residents have described it as something out of a Stephen King novel. We can’t wait to see the movie adaption!

Nurturing birds. Corvids (not to be mistaken for Covids) are undoubtedly smart birds. They can use tools, recognise human faces and understand basic physics. Some scientists even believe their intelligence can rival that of apes. However only recently a study discovered where this intelligence might come from – they stay with their parents for longer. Much like humans, young Corvids learn tasks much faster after watching their parents. Recent experiments with the birds “strongly suggest parenting helps shape bigger brains”. Perhaps parents shouldn’t be so quick to celebrate an early ‘empty nest’?

Polly wants a court ruling. We couldn’t resist clicking when we saw the headline: “Tampa man quarantined alone with hundreds of parrots — but says it wasn’t by choice”. Could you? Due to legal wrangling Majid “Magic” Esmaeili has found himself landlocked and alone in his five-acre Zaksee Florida Bird Sanctuary “caring for Rocco, Ollie, namesake Zaksee and all the other macaws, African greys, conures and lovebirds spread between one large aviary and about 50 individual enclosures.” It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

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