Tracks filled with Keas
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I'm looking for tracks aside from the great walks where Keas are known to be widely present. I've already done the keplar and part of the routeburn and would like to know if there are any other tracks where there is a high chance of them coming to your hit for a visit. UPDATE: Thanks for all of the concern regarding the Keas welfare. I have never fed a Kea and would never intentionally try to harm one. I am a bird watcher who just wants to maximize his chances of seeing wild Kea. I've read some stories of them interacting at smaller huts and would be just as happy to have a chance to see them fly overhead instead of a hut. I'm currently located in the north island and only have a slim window to hike and bird watch this Christmas in the south island. I often go out to smaller enclosures and islands to see kaka, and am always questing for a wild kokako up here as well. I will look into trails around Arthur's pass. Earlier I was set on the dusky bit still up for change.
Plenty of Keas around Arthur's Pass but more likely at roadside tourist spots than any particular hut.
Why would you want to get close to keas? Kea that have not got used to people stay well away those that are used to people know what they can easily steal from you and what to do about it if you stop them. They become miniature thugs.
Hi @Cooper1990. I hope you find the experience you want but I hope you'll also keep in mind that it tends to be bad for the keas when they're encouraged to interact with people. They learn to take more of an interest in exotic things instead of their natural habitat, which çreates substantial problems for things like pest control (and that's serious because without it the rats and stoats repeatedly eat kea babies), encourages roadkill, encourages them to find things like lead paint, and so on. Not that it's your fault that so many people have already encouraged certain kea to take an interest in people who visit certain places, and sometimes it's hard to keep them away, but I don't think it's a great idea to intentionally encourage it further.
under no circumstances should you feed kea. it changes their behaviour to look for more easy food from humans rather than go and find it in nature and human food is often not healthy for them.
After seeing how the kea at Porters Pass skifield behaved you would understand. Signs everywhere about not feeding kea but that meant closing the lunchbox immediately after taking a sandwich out and even then they might get some. If the wife could take decent photos I would have one of a kea sitting on my shoulder trying to get the sandwich I was eating. It ended up biting a chunk out of my finger nail. They also ganged up on a young school kid up there who they picked was scared of them. Imagine being chased all day by 20 or so large noisy birds. When we got there a group of them were playing with a tennis ball which didnt last very long. Then they found someones gym shoe and played with that. More accurately one was playing with a lace one a tongue and one the sole and they wernt in the same place. Much better to watch kea from a safe distance. They are a magnificent bird but with the intelligence of an average toddler they can be quick learners of bad habits
they can undo zips, if they smell food, they will rip open just about any fabric to get to it, they would make quick work of lightweight pack material. i wouldnt bet any pack material would stop them. they use their beaks on trees to get at insects and larvae.
There used to be a flock of 18-20 individuals at French Ridge hut in the West Matukituki. I say used to be as I haven’t been up there in 10 years, when I had the privilege of their company for 2 sleepless nights of them chewing on the deck, dropping stones on the roof, and ski jumping off the roof to much cackling all round. There was only a couple on Cascade Saddle a couple years back, hope they’re ok ☹️
Nearly everytime i've been on the tops around east or west Matukituki , i have drawn the attention of Kea. Shotover Saddle, South Albertburn saddle, Dragonfly Pk, Pine Ck basin above Lochnagar, Cascade saddle etc Nearly always a repair needed afterward to the tent or something else. The greatest concentrations i have seen are at Arthurs Pass or the Remarkables skifield.
Saw only two kea on a trip to Harman Pass last year and only heard one up Bealey Spur this year...(Arts Pass) Maybe try the Hawdon Valley where there is a lot of ground control going on. Don't let them come and peck anything...they can sever a pack strap with only a couple of pecks. I had quite a few hundred dollars of damage done to my car near the end of the Cass Track many years ago but sadly kea are now becoming serioulsy depleted. Doc's own radio tagging 2008 -2014 and again in South Westland 2017 show that there has been approximately a 12% fatality count after particular 1080 aerial ops. Only aerial ops that are extensively followed up with ground control will help their decline. Best wishes.
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