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Kea / Nestor notabilis

Kea is waiting for its localised description. 

Sanjay Thakur a DOC worker in the Murchison Mountains described extraordinary observations of keas. His email was published in Kea Conservation Trust newsletter on October 2010. (And volunteers from Fiordland Tramping Club could experience it as well while checking traps) 

Kea Sightings – Tool Use in Kea?

“Our local kea population in the Murchison Mountains (takahe country) have recently started demonstrating regular tool using behaviour! The kea down here have been getting long sticks and poking them through the 50mm square entrance holes of our stoat boxes to spring
the traps inside. I first saw this happening a few years ago, but it’s really taken off in the past 6 months: on some lines we’re now seeing this happening at over 50% of our traps. So far as I can tell, the kea are not getting access to the bait, but must just be doing it for kicks. I just got back yesterday from a 3 day trip trialling a couple of methods to stop this kea sabotage (putting wire or wooden baffles by the entrance holes), but at this stage my money’s still on the kea to outwit us once again. We’re concerned that other kea throughout Fiordland will start mimicking this behaviour – it’s even been suggested, only half in jest, that we try to catch the offending birds and ship them up towards the top of the south island before they teach too many other local birds. Still, you’ve got to love them – I had one bird follow me for three hours on Tuesday, watching my efforts at each trap with a degree of attentiveness and innate curiosity that most high school teachers would love to see in their human pupils!”

Written by Sanjay Thakur

More information about kea - Kea Conservation Trust