General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.


  1. Gezza

     /  22nd February 2018

    The first of my pukekos to turn up in my back yard below the kitchen window this morning was Bluey, the koro.

    I have to look very closely at them when they arrive on their own. I like to use their names when I talk to them, & feel a bit embarrassed when I realise I’ve got it wrong, because they seem to notice & appear a bit offended!

    All adult pukekos, male & female, look exactly the same from a distance.

    My three, Bluey, Aspen, & Sweetie, all know their names because in a group they respond individually (look at me or come a bit closer) when I use them. Feeding & talking to them by name eventually taught them their names.

    (It also works with the ducks – but they learn their names faster & most will quickly agree to feed from my hand – the pooks, never. Just as well, because they have sharp, strong, pointed beaks.)

    When all 3 pooks are together, it’s easy to tell them apart by size. The females are the smallest, & Bluey is the biggest. However, they can change their apparent size depending on whether they fluff up their feathers, hunch up, stand up tall, or walk.

    Sometimes they’re a little talkative & respond to my chatting away at them for a minute or two, sometimes not – they just look at me. Sweetie is the only one who’s sometimes easier to pick by voice because she does so the most quietly of the three. She’s also the one most likely to come the nearest to me, although all are wary of me moving & panic easily.

    Up close, I can look at the red plate that extends up from their beak over the top of their heads. As they get older, this gets a permanent sandpapered look, with individual little dings & bumps that I presume are mainly the result of their digging into rough ground & stones, tree trunks etc when searching out insects & going for the roots of certain plants they like to pull out. They are extremely strong & can pull out quite large plants.

    However this isn’t really much help when they’re 2 years okd or more because the different patterns are too hard to pick out. Nor is it any use when they’ve come up from the stream or it’s a wet day because then all their plates are just a uniform shiny red.

    The other way I can distinguish them sometimes is just watching their behaviour. Bluey will eventually pull a clump or two of grass right out from lawn – I have yell at him to “No! Stop that! Otherwise they all just clip the grass. The other two stopped pulling it up when I said no & have never offended again.

    Aspen nearly always jumps up on the streamside fence near the gate, & walks along the top of the trellis before flapping down to the ground. He is also the only one who regularly goes round the trellis for a drink out of the orange bucket that I keep full of clean water for them.

    Sweetie mostly jumps up onto the fence at the opposite end, by one of the two flower boxes, and walks carefully & slowly along it, if I’m in the kitchen, quietly talking to me as she goes.

    • Gezza

       /  22nd February 2018

      I forgot : two other things help me pick which is Aspen:
      1. He virtually lives in my back yard during the day. He seems to turn up every half hour or so.
      2. He loves to stand on one leg, for some reason. He often does this. Can be either leg. It’s just his “thing”.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  22nd February 2018

        He must have been a flamingo in a previous life.

        OHHHHH !!!!!

        How about making lawn pukekos instead of lawn flamingoes ?

        I saw the teeniest wee rainbow gecko yesterday. It was so tiny that the rainbow colours were only discernable as a streak.

        When I take the bird food out, there are always one or two standing with their wings on their hips wondering why it’s taking so long. Then the birdword goes out (how ????) and the rest come. There are so many that I am going to have to put more out for the greedy buggers.


        • Gezza

           /  22nd February 2018

          Yes, I can well imagine. As soon as I start feeding the pooks over the fence I get a tree full of dunnocks. Hetty (she’s the only one of them that has a puff of fluffy feathers at the top of her legs) seems to stay around my property’s general area, & often hops down amongst the pooks to get grains, appears to summon the flock.

          I put smaller grains of birdseed in the fence flower box under the tree for them, but I have to walk away before they’ll all flock down & get the seeds.

          Harry & Dot, the ducks, keep an eye out for me at the fence when working the stream.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  22nd February 2018

            What do they do ? Put two claws in their beak and whistle ?

            It’s getting to be a racket at my place. They love Coupland’s multi-grain bread, which is a good thing as it costs $1 a loaf. I used to use bird seed. but there are too many birds for that and I was really annoyed at mynahs hogging it, anyway,

            It used to be put on the grass and vanished very quickly. One day it dawned on us that the dog was coming in looking shifty, with the fur around his mouth wet. ‘Me eat the bird seed ? Never ! I don’t even lIke it !’ I put some on my hand and held it out…slurrrrpppp ! ‘Ooops…..’

            A bird table was built at once.

            Bread is cleaner, anyway,