“Kaka Circus 3pm” announced the brochure about Pukaha, Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre.I had first encountered Kaka in the wild on Kapiti Island, another Wildlife sanctuary. Kaka are inquisitive, bold, birds, full of antics and tricks. So I was very excited about seeing more Kaka and the advertised circus. I was not disappointed!
We arrived at the area in the bush set aside for the circus ahead of 3pm to find that the Kaka were already gathering for feeding time. The trees and feeding stands were alive with noisy, energetic birds.
With two cameras between three of us we got some great photos of these fascinating and funny birds. The absolute highlight for me was when one of the Kaka was happy enough to come close to me and nipped at my hand, my jacket and my camera case. Believe me they have a powerful beak. I was even more delighted when one of the Kaka alighted on my head. My daughter was well positioned with her camera and had observed this bird eyeing me up so had turned her camera to video. I have a wonderful video record of the bird flapping down and taking me by surprise as it landed on my head, turned around and then flew off again. That was an experience I will not ever forget. It was very, very special. As I have mentioned in other posts I love our native birds and to get up so close and personal was extraordinarily good.
The staff member told us about the food they provide for the Kaka. Nuts, seeds, apples, fruit, corn on the cob and fluid feeders full of diluted strawberry jam. Kaka enjoy nectar like many of our native birds and they relished drinking from those at the feeding spot.
The Kaka population in the centre has grown dramatically thanks to management plans and supplementary feeding. These birds can all fly freely but are smart enough to know where the extras are provided
The following information is from the Department of Conservation website: http://www.doc.govt.nz
The kākā is a large parrot belonging to the nestorinae family, a group that includes the cheeky kea and the extinct Norfolk Island kākā.
The birds are mainly diurnal but are active at night during fine weather or a full moon. Flocks of boisterous kākā gather in the early morning and late evening to socialise – their amusing antics and raucous voice led the Maori to refer to them as chattering and gossiping.
Here is a link to more Facts about the Kaka. http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/birds/land-birds/kaka/facts/
I had a memorable and magical experience at the Kaka circus and in my next post about the Redwoods at Pukaha I will mention the chattering and gossiping Kaka again.