Kea, Mueller hut, Mt Cook National Park
The kea is the world's only alpine parrot. Keas prefer to play all day in the mountains rather than search for food, live somewhere warmer, or do something useful. Their favourite toys include anything man-made which is valuable or useful. This includes cars, camera gear and tents! This mischievous kea was repeatedly climbing up the tin roof of the Mueller hut and sliding down into the guttering. Unfortunately, this was no longer entertaining for those staying inside when it continued for several hours... and then all his mates (about 12 of them) joined in. Keas are completely unafraid of humans... even when attacked.
Keas are the most cunning life form you are likely to encounter in the hills. A kea has even locked some climbers inside the Mueller hut by operating the bolt on the door. Thus thwarting their ascent of Mt Sealy and resulting in an embarrassing radio call to park HQ.
Keas are very complex creatures and seem to exhibit quite individual personalities - as well as learn quickly. I could recount endless Kea stories... full moons seem to give me the most problems - do they ever sleep?
(The Mueller Hut sits on the northern end of the Sealy range 1000m above Mt Cook village - very accessible and a great day trip).
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Copyright (c) 1996 Jonathan Carr