Our latest feathered resident has just been voted as Bird of the Year in a Forest and Bird NZ poll. The Pūkeko joins the Plovers, Magpies, Ducks, Parakeets and myriad of other small NZ Birds to wander our garden. These colourful and completely scatty birds can normally be found in wetland areas or road verges where they scavenge for food and play Russian roulette with their lives.
I’ve always found the Pūkeko quite endearing. Cheeky birds that nonchalantly strut around on their long legs oblivious to their awkward appearance, especially when it comes to flying. The lumbering take off, dangling leg flight action and crash landing techniques of the Pūkeko make them comical to watch. To have them wandering the garden makes me nervous though as I have no doubt that they could wreak havoc in their hunt for something juicy to eat.
The Bassets are completely baffled by this new interloper. They have become accustomed to the other birds but for now the Pūkeko is a strange intruder that requires immediate investigation before summarily being barked off the property. These nervous birds don’t hang around for long and certainly capturing them with the camera is going to be a challenge. I managed to creep around inside the house with a long lens to snatch a few snaps so apologies that it is not the sharpest photograph in the world!