South Island - Te Wai Pounamu - Sunwaysite

South Island - Te Wai Pounamu

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Weka

Nikkor 24-70 @70mm, f3.5, ISO 800, Oparara Basin ( http://tinyurl.com/OpararaForest) Western ssp.; D600

An inquisitive, confident and even pugnacious endemic bird. Having snacks in remote areas of the wilderness in the thickets on the forest floor we expected Weka getting slowly closer in smaller and smaller circles before, after some patient manoeuvring, it appeared inches behind our backs. It obviously was very busy doing its routine business but.. at some point involving also pulling our fleece with its beak, pretty hard actually, testing out the tripod leg and the shoe just out of the irresistible curiosity.

The birds were not used to people or used to be fed; they didn’t even respond to feeding when we tried, moving gently, throwing some tasty bits for it to check out. It was completely foreign to them. We observed the same with many other species of birds including the song birds and during the time got accustomed to their, quite literally, visits as we often stay longer on the spot in the least probable places to see humans, let alone hanging there around. Most curious Wekas we met were the first-year birds.

This tendency is more surprising when we realize that Weka was regularly hunted by Maori and the new settlers. Would that be that one thousand years wasn’t quite enough to have the influence on genetic formula deep to that level reflecting the new and changed?