On Blankets, Birthdays and Endangered Parrots

It’s been a whole month since my last post , time keeps on zipping by me and although I’m not wasting any of it I have very little to show you currently.

I did get my Seaside Stash Busting Blanket finished – and absolutely love it!   Here is a pic of it spread out on my bed complete with the obligatory poser

dav

If you have a good sized stash of yarn – and even if you don’t – head on over to Eleonora’s place and follow her weekly installments, available on her blog under the header picture.

I did have an almost significant birthday a few days back and amongst the lovely cards and gifts was a most wonderful surprise from my youngest.   We will head off in a few more days to trek through the evening bush to visit with Sirocco, the world famous kakapo.

What?  You haven’t heard of Sirocco?  Where have you been for the past decade?  Come on, you are about to meet a pretty hilarious and amazing parrot!

Kakapos are another of our almost endless supply of nocturnal, flightless birds under attack from the almost endless supply of introduced  rodents and predators who have ravaged the population.   Here he is in a pic I pinched off Google, looking perkily ambassadorial

sirocco

Kakapos are the only flightless parrots in the world.  They are big, heavy birds who climb trees using their claws and beaks.  They mate irregularly and have a prolonged and unusual mating ritual that involves ‘booming’.  They were almost extinct and are being clawed back from the brink by dint of human determination.

Sirocco’s behaviour on Stephen Fry’s series of ‘Last Chance to See’ some ten years ago resulted in world wide fame and instant You Tube infamy and as a result he became New Zealand’s official spokes-bird for conservation and most importantly the conservation of our native flightless bird population – and even more importantly the kakapo of which there are now 149 up from their lowest point of just 25.  This short clip kind of sums it all up

If you are interested in learning more, the link below will take you to some relevant pages on Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand.  I’ve started it with the male Kakapo sitting in his bowl ‘booming’ his mating call out in the hopes some wandering female will pop by …….  He’ll do it for hours and days and it becomes pretty obvious predators aren’t the only reason why these quirky birds are endangered!

https://teara.govt.nz/en/video/10577/male-kakapo-booming

Kakapo generally have a reputation of being fearless, inquisitive and friendly birds.  An early Governor of New Zealand, back in the day when kakapo were still plentiful, was said to have been given one as a pet and compared it favourably to a dog.  Sirocco’s ill health as a chick meant he was taken from his mother and hand raised.  He imprinted on humans and, it seems, specifically the male of our species and as a result has no interest in ‘booming’ for kakapo hens.  He will boom for humans though.  Despite a couple of years in therapy and some training in acceptable behaviour (some of which you can see on YouTube if you do a search) he is not likely to assist in the increasing of the kakapo population, so Sirocco happily takes himself off round the country from time to time, sets up digs in a suitable outdoor hotel, is waited on hand and foot by his adoring servants and accepts brief visits from small groups of his adoring public  – of which I shall  happily be one.

Not many of us get to see a real live kakapo.  They now live only on two small islands that are kept scrupulously pest free – no rodents,  no predators of any kind.  The only humans allowed are those entrusted with their care and scientific research into their lifestyles.  Given those living conditions and the fact that they sleep all day we are really fortunate to have a bird who likes people and who enjoys looking at them as much as they like looking at him.

Any how, I’m really looking forward to it,  I just hope I don’t get lost in the bush on my way to my date with Sirocco   🙂  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

 

85 thoughts on “On Blankets, Birthdays and Endangered Parrots

  1. Your blanket is stunning, and so is the little model showing it off.
    You changed your profile pic? I love the new hair. I also want it!!
    Thank you for the information on the parrots. I loved it, so very interesting. I will be watching for your future posts on your trip there and back.
    And a huge hug and happy happy birthday.
    xxx
    Hugs to Siddy too, from my little one. xx

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    • We went last night to visit the parrot – it was pretty cool! The hair colour is the real thing, the pink haired photo was years old and I just hadn’t changed it. I used to have black hair – now I don’t. 🙂 I’m glad you like it, I don’t hear many comments like that 🙂 Siddy loves company and hugs, thanks for sharing your pup with us. Hugs back.

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      • Nice, I am pretty super that parrot was cool. It must have been quite the experience.
        I love your hair. I have grey hair, but not as nice as yours yet. Still some dark areas around the bottom of my head. So it looks like I still colour it, but actually it is my own too. I get lots of questions on who does my colour, fortunately mother nature is very kind. I am now considering actually colouring the darker areas grey too, I like to all solid colour much much more.
        Hope the weather is kind, we are having a heatwave already, and it is only Spring. Hoping for rain soon this season.
        Enjoy the coming weekend, it is nearly here. 🙂 Have fun and a good time. xx

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        • We are having some very warm days already too – interspersed with some cooler ones and rain – bit of everything really which is typical for our spring except the temperatures are higher than normal on the good days. My hair is silvery white and now I am used to it I quite like it. I use a purple shampoo to ensure it doesn’t yellow and that gives it an ever so faint purple aura which makes me look wise 😀 There are some lovely silver shades available now too thanks to the young ones liking silvery-grey hair. You could have a lovely time experimenting with your colours!

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          • Your weather sounds pretty nice at the moment. We have had very hot days, and today is completely overcast, windy and a bit of a chill. I even had to get a sweater again. Just on the start of the long weekend here. 🙂
            I do however hope for rain, we are so in need of rain lately.
            Thanks for the notes on your hair. 🙂 I am definitely going to have a go at it. The silvery gray is stunning. My daughter alternates between the silver and blond. It is going to be fun experimenting and getting a “new” colour and look.

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            • I have to admit that I hated the process of changing – I had been dark for so long and had to grow out the roots so my hairdresser could see what she was dealing with. Then it took a few of months to gradually pull the colour back to let the real thing come through. I also had my long hair cut short which was a bit of a shock. But I have never regretted going natural and the silver colour gets a lot of comments.
              I shall keep an eye out for changes in your photo – good luck with it! And yes, have lots of fun!!

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  2. Oh my gosh that video is hilarious! And to think you get to meet that plucky fellow in person soon. What a royal treat of a birthday gift. I think experiences make some of the best gifts, and this one looks like a doozy. You don’t say when you’re going, but I hope it’s soon. I can’t wait to hear about your experience.

    I’m really impressed with your country’s efforts to restore some natural balance. It’s horrifying how we’ve messed with the natural order of things. I’m glad the Kakapo are living in pristine conditions for maximizing survival.

    I love your gorgeous blanket and made a side visit to the crochet designer leading the charge. I had a good laugh at the crocheted campfire, too. What a hoot. It’s exciting to think you’ve made that with your stash, and of course it makes sense that it would be in all your favorite colors. We’ve had the most marvelous fall-like day which makes me think I can break out my crochet once again. I remain a novice, but I do find it relaxing.

    Siddy is like a balm whenever he appears in your posts. I think everyone who meets him falls in love, whether in person or on the web. I remember a short visit from him at the foot of my bed in Wanaka before Mike arrived, and how relaxing it was just to have him there.

    I’m looking forward to a good catch up soon. Love and hugs, xo

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    • We are going on Tuesday evening Alys, I’m ridiculously excited about the opportunity to meet not just any bird – but this particular lad who is the figure head for all Kakapo. The conservationists are doing an excellent job aren’t they, bringing them back from the brink of extinction. Especially as the birds themselves are such fussy breeders they don’t make it easy. I shall report back next week.

      Siddy is my joy – but you know that. We’ve recently been having this phenomenon of people waving and smiling and making hearts with their hands out their car windows as they pass by when we walk. On our regular route there are even some folk who come out to meet him. He is so incredibly happy as he trots along – we are a happy duo of morning walkers for sure 🙂 Did he just visit you one time in Wanaka? It must have been the call of the garden that took him away from visiting – he would just trot around that garden, in one door and out the other. Totally loving the space!

      I too am looking forward to our catch-up – til then xoxo

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      • Pauline, I can’t wait to hear about the adventure. What a remarkable gift.

        I LOVE that folks are taking time to wave to Siddy, sending hearts out of car windows and in general sending the love and good feelings they receive from the two of you on your walk. You have a warm smile and a gracious demeanor so I’m not the least surprised. Siddy visited me on the couch, on the deck and other places during our stay, and he came to check each room as well, but there was one day where he got up on the bed and stayed for awhile and I loved it.

        xo

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        • I just put that post up Alys – it could have been a book I learned so much and saw so much….. Thank you for your kind words, that makes my heart light to think you see me that way. Siddy has been groomed and had his ears cut in a ‘puppy cut’ he looks like a different boy – but still incredibly cute! I’ll send pics soon. I’m glad he visited you so many times – I have photos of him cosied up to you on the couch. It’s so lovely! I do miss you!

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    • Shubha, you must have heard me thinking about you, for I was thinking of you this morning and wondering how you were doing – and here you are 🙂 Thank you for the birthday wishes. Congrats on going back to work – I hope it is a wonderful job and you are enjoying every day of it. xoxo

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  3. Pauline – your blanket is stunning. I have always thought that a restriction of some sort makes for a better creative result, and this is a prime example. Your little pup is a charmer up there on your bed and all your hard work.

    So interesting about the bird! I looked up to see if he was a relative of the ostrich, but it seems not. Quite a unique guy.

    I believe that your daughter giving you such a present is an A+ Motherhood Badge of Honor. Job well done, mom.

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    • Can you believe I was deliberating about giving all that yarn away when another blogger suggested I look at this pattern and voila – a match made in heaven! You are so right about the restrictions. I would never have thought of doing this and I feel a whole new way of creating coming on 🙂 Our birds are pretty unique – millennia of being separated from the rest of the world and with no natural predators and thick rain forest as a habitat, they ceased using their wings and became ground dwellers – and larger and heavier. When people arrived with their rats and later rabbits, stoats and weasels they were decimated. Once there was a giant bird quite like an ostrich called a moa. The last of them were killed off very early in the 19thC. Fortunately we have a number of quirky birds surviving and the kakapo are holding on by the tips of their beaks……

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  4. How have I never heard of this bird?! What a rock star! It’s such a good birthday present idea–an experience you’ll never forget, and you can share it with us when you get back. Do you have to travel far to meet the parrot? And I do love your blanket, almost as much as Siddy seems to!

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  5. Wow, that bird is something. I hope you don’t meet him in that way, but perhaps he just likes men (dude WAS wearing a green shirt). You must report on your adventure. Your blanket is really beautiful and sea-soothing and I like that bit of green, too. Of course, Siddy makes it better.

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  6. How wonderful!! To come hear and learn about a fascinating bird. See s beautiful blanket and your adorable dog posing! LOL!! Thank you! This was quite a treat! The blanket is soooooo pretty!
    I don’t have any significant birthdays ever, so that way they also are neither insignificant! Just a day my Mother remembers more than me! :o)
    Happy Belated Birthday! (((HUG))) And what a wonderful gift from your daughter! Take lots of pictures!!

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    • Hello Eliz, I enjoyed your post this morning. I didn’t leave a message as I have done in the past as they just disappear into the ether, but it’s fun to see what you are getting up to out there in ‘the woods’. I love celebrating birthdays, it’s a hangover from a childhood that never celebrated them – so we tend to go all out 😀 I love my blanket too. I’m terribly impressed what can happen with a basket full of unused yarn that I was seriously considering disposing of. I will certainly update you all on my visit to Sirocco – I’m so looking forward to seeing my first real life kakapo!

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      • Oh! No! I just checked now and many waiting comments had not been sent to my e-mail like I asked!! I just published quite a few by checking this, Thank you for telling me! I’m so sad I missed my friends who commented! I just thought everyone was busy with no time to comment!!! Yes the blogger format stinks with some things. But I have blogged so long on it I feel challenged to move! ;o) I’ll have to check my settings again for the comments. So sorry!

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        • Don’t be sorry Eliz it wasn’t your doing. Our blogger platforms all do odd things now and again. This one seems to be fond of dropping blogs off my ‘follow’ list now and again or spamming perfectly harmless comments….. Glad you got it sorted 🙂

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  7. Pauline, happy birthday to you! What a beautiful blanket and a beautiful boy anchoring it down ;)! I’ve never heard of a kakapo before. They sound very vulnerable, not being able to fly. I understand that the introduction of other species has been dangerous to original NZ species, right? And not just the kakapo? Enjoy your visit! xo

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    • Thank you for the birthday wishes Luanne 🙂 This land was originally populated by large flightless birds – some were hunted to extinction and the rest have suffered immensely under the unsupervised introduction of rodents and weasels and other assorted mammals that were brought in accidentally or purposefully. As they nest on the ground the eggs are easy pickings and the birds themselves, mostly of a fearless and relaxed nature, became equally easy pickings for mammals of an ignorant and hungry nature. This is a fascinating land!

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        • Yes, though it is mostly feral cats that are the issue. More and more people are keeping cats confined to their sections or even indoors entirely. We have been a nation with no notion of confining cats until recently. Feral cats are now actively trapped, desexed and rehomed wherever possible. However for our native birds, most of whom have more sense than to be city dwellers the major issues lie with possums from Australia and variations of stoats, weasels, ferrets, rats etc from European ships who find the ground based nests easy pickings.

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  8. Happy Birthday, though belatedly. The blanket is gorgeous and Siddy is, as always, most adorable. The parrot is most interesting. I didn’t know anything about Kakapos. They sound intriguing. I hope you enjoy your visit with Sirocco. Sounds as if its a bit like visiting avian royalty. Do tell about your experience.

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  9. Your blanket is GORGEOUS! Love it’s cool colors. Even more gorgeous is the handsome fellow sitting atop it. You did make it just for him, of course. 😉 Thank you for the early morning laugh at the beautiful bird shagging the photographer. What a wonderful introduction to it. I’ve never seen one. Hope your birthday was happy. It was so nuts here that it will take a bit for me to recover enough to write. It’s been a month for me as well. I’ll get back to it soon. Maybe midweek. Sigh. Giant squishy hugs. M

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  10. Once again, Belated Happy Birthday to you. Your description as “almost significant” made me laugh. As for those Kakapos, they are treasures, but those population numbers are staggering. Loved the video.

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    • We have a number of flightless, nocturnal birds – all of whom are pretty quirky and most of whom are endangered. The YouTube video is definitely worth a watch. Didn’t that blanket come out beautifully. I love Eleonora’s pattern and will probably make another one when my stash supply builds up again. I’m about to embark on another blanket from Emily Littlefair’s book ‘Round and Round the Crochet Hook’ she is ‘the loopy stitch’ do you know her work?

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  11. Happy almost significant birthday! How exciting that you will soon be meeting a superstar. Oops, sorry, Siddy, I mean another superstar. Siddy, you look gorgeous on the new blanket. You are made for each other. 🙂

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  12. Well, who knew I was going to start off my day watching a parrot bonking a cameraman?
    A happy, belated, almost significant birthday to you and I hope you have a wonderful time seeing the confused kakapo.
    The blanket is gorgeous by the way – no wonder it’s being watched over by your not so fearsome guard dog.

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    • See, just proves you can’t be complacent about the contents of any day 🙂 I just love my blanket. It still has to be blocked to be perfect which requires the days to be a bit warmer, and I intend to do a little hand embroidery in a few places but that will be an easy task for a bit later.

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