Friday, March 7, 2014

Kereru - NZ Wood Pigeon

This great big fat bumbling bird is my very favourite NZ bird. I love it's clumsiness. I love it's striking colour contrasts. I love how it ignores humans if there is food to be had. I love it's greediness. I love it's noisy whoop whoop flight. And I love the way spreads the seeds around in it's poop, to naturally revegetate the NZ bush. I just love it - but I think you might have got that by now.

We are so lucky where we live, that there are about 20 birds that regularly move about our valley. They eat the fresh leaves on (non-native) deciduous trees, and seeds off particular native trees, as the season provides. But right now they are full-on into the cabbage tree seeds. We have lots planted around our garden, and the trees have seeded particularly prolifically this year (I think because of the optimum conditions over spring and summer).
Cabbage Tree seeds - Latin: Cordyline australis; Maori: Ti kouka

There are lots of little black seeds inside the protective white coating.
These are NOT from inside the bird, by the way. I found these under the tree
he had been eating in, that he had dropped from his mouth....
What has really piqued my interest is that a kereru flew through our window last week. Yes, he smashed the window on his way through, but during his incarceration in my front room, he also pooped everywhere before he flew (unharmed) out another window. Now most people would find this quite disgusting, but I was fascinated. The poop was dense with seeds. Mostly Cabbage tree seeds, and held together with green leafy pulp. Oh nice! Well I saved it all, planning to analyse it, then plant it, as you do. Sadly for the scientific community, my lovely husband inadvertently used the bucket I had saved the poo in, swishing the 'muck' out so he could use the bucket. If only he had known what treats he was washing down the plug hole...
Broken window in the shape of a bird in flight. He left unscathed.
Kereru in our cabbage tree last night
I love the contrast of the crisp white against the turquoise!
Anyway, I digress. Point is - I am now really really interested in the seed process. There are seeds everywhere, if you just look. Most of our native plants do not have showy flowers, but many of them have fantastically decorative seeds. And this year is quite special, apparently, as prolific seeding is happening all around the country. Certainly it is happening in our neck of the woods, and the birds are having a field day. Next time you are out and about, take a closer look into the trees, and you will see what I am talking about.
The images below are of Astelia chatamica 'Silver Spear' - a gorgeous silver flax-like plant for dry spots.
Astelia Silver Spear, with Michelia yunnanensis and Muehlenbeckia astonii - at my office
Astelia seeds - so orange! Love them.

1 comment:

  1. I am now really really interested in the seed process. There are seeds everywhere, if you just look.