Dogs love the smell of kiwis. Kiwis have a strong smell. The two together make for a bad marriage.
When a dog is left to run wild in kiwi habitat the outcome is often not good. Unlike many birds, the kiwi does not have a sternum (breastbone) which means it doesn’t take much pressure to cause major damage to internal organs. A dog may not even mean to cause damage but the outcome can often be bad. Those who handle kiwi must be trained in order to pick up the bird in a way that won’t cause harm.
So, if you’re in New Zealand with a dog, please make sure you respect the signs and the rules and keep your dog away from this national icon and help preserve it for the future.
In earlier posts you may remember my news about rehoming our pet Quaker parrot. This was a really tough decision in our choice to move to New Zealand as he had been a part of our little family for 10 years.
Anyway, the great news is that he can now be a fully-fledged Quaker once again as he is in an aviary with around 20 other Quakers. After a spell in quarantine and waiting for the weather to warm up, he can now live out his life as a bird should…well…as much freedom as we could give him. In some ways he will become one of the flock (to the zoo and anyone visiting)…to us he will always be ours with bags of fond memories too. Perhaps he may get the chance to breed as well which would be fabulous.
Now simply a blue Quaker with a purple ring on his right leg…that is my friend.
Don’t worry…I am not about to preach…I wanted to use this blog to reflect on the sometimes barbaric nature of nature and an adopted “pet” in our new recently-tidied-up garden.
Picture the scene…I was out doing a little sweeping of the seating area by the decking after the garden had been cut back and I heard a gentle buzzing sound from nearby. I looked into the trees trying to locate the source of the noise, worried that I may be the target for an angry wasp and saw something surprising…a Praying Mantis which had caught a wasp and was busy eating it alive. The wasp was buzzing and I could see its jaws moving as the Mantis (who we have named “Peter”) proceeded to eat it alive. Gruesome. I have since seen him with another wasp as well.
So, Peter is our resident Praying Mantis (who was since seen moving to higher branches) and our new pseudo-pet. If he keeps the wasps away, he is OK with me.
It is quite amazing to see how aware these insects are of their surroundings close-up. I couldn’t resist gently tapping on his leg with a key as he sat in wait, blowing like a leaf, and he turned his head to look at me. Just goes to show, there are amazing things happening just outside your door! Enjoy the photo.
Well…I think today has possibly been the unhappiest day of my life. We took our parrot to his new home before we leave these shores.
Despite it undoubtedly being the right decision for him in so many ways because he can return to being a bird rather than being a pet, it was still heartbreaking to take him there and not bring him away. It is also right because re-homing him with relatives or other people who he may not have taken to would have been totally inappropriate for both parties as parrots need a lot of attention and a frosty relationship would have been unworkable and miserable for all.
We let him travel in a smaller cage so he could see where he was going and then transferred him to his larger cage prior to leaving him. The Zoo is really geared up for birds to live with each other and they have loads of space to fly around so hopefully he will settle in well. The staff were excellent in making it easy to leave him and, despite the emotions, we came away feeling that we had done the right thing…but the house is now so quiet.
He may be a small bird, but he has a huge personality and will long have a special place in my heart for all the joy he brought over 10 years. He will be missed in many ways more than the special people in our lives because he was there every day, welcoming me home…trying to steal any morsel of food I had going…enjoying karaoke (!!!)…and just being himself. So much delight…but in the end, so sad.
I’ll miss him and I hope he enjoys a long and happy life in the best place we could find for him, after our home.
I told my colleagues at work today about my leaving the UK for New Zealand. I am lucky because I work with some genuinely nice people and I found it difficult to pass on this news. Everyone has been delighted for me though and for my managers who have known of my move previously, they have been really helpful which is a fabulous outcome in what is a daunting but exciting time.
It got me thinking about the hardest part of leaving your home country. For me, it is not, however, friends or even family which sounds really antisocial…it is a small blue Quaker parrot. We have lived with him for 10 years now and I have thankfully found him a place in a parrot zoo, where he will be able to live out his life as a bird with other birds like him. He has bonded with me and it is so hard to part…but having seen how he takes to my Mum when we are on holidays, I have no doubt he will move on to his new environment easily.
Anyone who has bonded with a bird will understand the difficulty of ending such a relationship…but at least we can offer him a modicum of freedom. For a small bird he has a big personality and will rule the roost no doubt.