Sneaky parrots :) There are three passes on the south island of New Zealand, and one is called Arthur’s Pass. This is in an area of very beautiful mountain forest with lots of native birds, including a parrot called a Kea. There is a little cafe at the top of the pass that is quite popular with travelers, and has an outdoor seating area – with warning signs about not feeding the Keas. Well, they didn’t tell us they were stealth parrots, but quite accomplished they turned out to be. Just look at this guilty face:
These birds are big, at least a foot tall. Yet sneaky, sneaky. I bought a meat pie at this place, which is a very typical New Zealand lunch. It was maybe 3 inches in diameter and an inch deep. I went outside with it on my plate, set it down on the table, and looked around for the rest of my group. I swear I had my back turned for only a few seconds, when a Kea hopped up from beneath the table where it had been hiding, grabbed my pie in its beak, and nimbly hopped away to its pie-eating lair in the nearby underbrush – managing to not break the pie in the process! Of course I had to buy a second pie, keeping a closer watch on it this time. And all the while the Kea was taunting me in the bush, eating my lunch not a few feet away (yes, those are pie crumbs on its beak):
It’s bad when the birds are smarter than you are! Though sadly this food is very much not good for them. They’d be better off not stealing it. I suppose these few birds that hang out down here may not make into the next generation, while other, wilder birds will.