This blog is about keas. Keas are parrots. Keas live only on the South Island of New Zealand. There are about 1000 to 5000 keas on the South Island of New Zealand. Scientists are not sure how many there are, because keas like to move around a lot. A keas territory is about 4 kilometers in area. Keas are very curious and one time a kea stole someone’s passport.
Keas are on the endangered list. Keas are endangered because they were shot down for harassing the sheep. The government offered a price of $65 per kea in the 19th century. Keas would kill the sheep and that is why people shot them. But they do not do this anymore. The threat now for keas is humans, stoats, possums, and rats. 60% of kea eggs will not hatch, because stoats and other pests will eat the eggs and chicks. The government is setting up traps for pests such as stoats, possums and rats. But sometimes little chicks get caught in the stoat traps and eat the poison.
Keas lay 4 eggs per breeding season. They lay eggs on the ground in burrows. When a male kea finds a mate they are stuck together for life. Keas when full grown are 50 cm and have a wingspan of 1 meter or 3.3 feet. Keas live to about 40 years old.
Here is our story with a kea encounter. We were driving and my mom wanted to go on this boring hike. When we pulled into the parking lot, there sat a bird on top of a car. The kea then flew onto our car’s side mirror. It just sat there looking at us while my parents took photos and then it flew onto the roof. It hung upside down and looked through the open window. Its’ head was inside the car. We got out of the car. I sat down in the parking lot. The kea ran towards me then stopped and backed away. There is another time he almost landed on my arm. I named him Keke. He was awesome.