Sunday, February 05, 2006

They will fly around and laugh

I found a wonderful story about keas on GoogleNews New Zealand. Apparently there is going to be a classic car rally in Mt Cook, and the organizers have hired the local karate club members to protect the valuable cars from keas. (For the non-Kiwis reading, keas are New Zealand alpine parrots, which enjoy destroying cars.)

A Department of Conservation ranger said he didn't think the karate club members would be very effective, because the keas would be able to avoid them.

"They will fly around and laugh," he said.

He said the keas would move from one end of the village to the other, easily eluding the car bodyguards.

"I think it's a huge joke."

Apart from relocating the birds, there was no way of stopping them, he said.

"They don't like being squirted with water pistols, so that's quite a good way to deter them - just momentarily."

I thought this was a great story. I like the idea of karate club members running around squirting water pistols, and keas flying around and laughing.

But then I looked up some more about the kea, and found that the Parrot Society of New Zealand has this article on their website, which contains some information about keeping keas in captivity. They need to be entertained, apparently, and after suggesting an entertainment area for the birds, the article adds this:

A further method of entertaining the Kea (or its owner) is to spray them with the garden hose - they love it.

This made me go HMMMMM, and wonder: Could this be why the DoC ranger is so sure they will fly around and laugh?


Writer Mom said...

Came over after you cracked me up on Cheryl's blog.
So glad I did!
I hope there's footage on a US sports channel. Karate club members keeping birds from pooping on cars, then getting soaked and pooped on in the process...That's the kind of sporting event I'd watch!

Badaunt said...

No, no, no! These birds don't just poop on cars - they DISSASSEMBLE them. A long time ago an insurance company ran a brilliant commercial in which a gang of keas totally stripped a new car of everything - the wipers, the chrome, the side mirrors, the LOT. It was really funny, and also quite scary because the birds were like teenagers on speed. (They'd sped up the film, but still...)

They are vandals. CUTE vandals. And they're not scared of people.

Over at Halfbakery (my new favourite site) they have an idea for dealing with them. I'm not sure that's it's a practical idea, but it certainly is a wonderful one.

Lippy said...

I remember that ad, BadAunt - it continues to be a total classic. Keas are naughty, naughty birdies... but oh so entertaining!

Badaunt said...

Lippy: That ad is still around? I hunted and hunted for it on the web, but couldn't find it. It is my favourite EVER ad. The birds looked so ... GLEEFUL, as they ripped the car to bits.

(Just noticed I spelt disassemble wrongly. I'm so ashamed.)