This is a kea. Isn't he cute? Happy, little green parrot...tra la la.
This little parrot will mess your s**t up. If you are a sheep. Image courtesy Flickr user PhillipC, via CC.
Happy, little green parrot who calmly burrows through the still-living flesh of sheep and dines upon their kidney fat while they lay bleating in terror. No, really. You can see a video here. Watch Clip 4, starting about two minutes in.
And now, the context....
Kea are incredibly intelligent mountain parrots, native to New Zealand. Most of the time, they eat the sort of things you'd expect parrots to eat: Berries, nectar, insects. But that food is in short supply during the winter months, and kea--while they do migrate from mountain tops down into the warmer valleys--don't fly away to summer climes. Plus, the encroachment of ranches, farms and cities drove off a lot of their traditional food sources over the last few centuries. So, in winter, the birds are sometimes forced to get creative about their meals. And that's where the sheep come in.
Unsurprisingly, ranchers are not pleased. There've been legends of sheep-killing parrots since the early days of European colonization in New Zealand. Kea were killed off in droves and even had a bounty on their heads for a while. Ironically, though, a lot of people claimed the legends were just that, right up until kea were caught on film, dining on sheep in 1993---seven years after conservationists won a hard-fought battle to protect the birds against the threat of hunting and extermination. Today, they're still a protected species, but their numbers are also still on the decline---thanks to habitat loss, falling prey to other animals, and sometimes deadly human attempts to keep the inquisitive (and frequently destructive birds) away from cars and bicycles.
The keas' story is a complicated tale of what happens when humans tamper with nature...and nature tampers back. Great stuff. Thanks to Nathan Torkington for the video link!
I spent the last few days fighting off a mouse infestation in our RV. So far I’ve trapped and tossed six of the furry little bastards out on their asses. As I began the search for where they were getting into our rig, yesterday, I got to wondering how much space they can actually squeeze […]
The little pink-edged ferns above are Azolla filiculoides, and they’re smaller than a fingernail. Scientists just made it the first fern to get its genome sequenced because of its potential for fertilizing and even cooling the planet. Fifty million years ago, it was so abundant as ocean blooms that it helped cool the earth’s atmosphere. […]
When a deaf Czech girl had her genes tested, researchers were surprised to find two sets of her father’s genome spliced, leaving almost none of her mother’s genome. Only about 25 girls and zero boys have ever been found with this trait.
Summer’s here, which brings not only warmer weather but also the unsettling realization that the year is more than halfway over. So, for those who weren’t as productive as they would have liked during the first half of 2018, we’ve rounded up 5 skill course bundles you can start learning today to help you finish […]
It’s good to be proactive, but when it comes to preparing for an emergency situation, one of the most important items you can pack is a flashlight. After all, whatever else you include in your kit won’t be of much use if you can’t see what you’re doing. The Viper 1000-Lumen Tactical Flashlights not only […]
Chances are you took a handful of language classes in high school, and aside from a smattering of conjugations and vocabulary words, the only things you likely remember are the dry, rehearsed sentences that did little to make you speak like a true native. If you’re still hoping to learn a new language but want […]