This evening we watched several Pukeko grazing on carrot weed roots in our paddocks, using use their strong red beaks to gouge the roots from the soil. We’ve taken special interest in one little family. Himself put up an electric fence around the nesting area to stop our inquisitive cattle from nosing amongst the grass that hides the nest.
I dared to snap a couple of photos of the nest before the mother bird hurried back. I counted four chicks and two unhatched eggs. There were originally eleven eggs. I guess a rat or stoat must have taken some eggs. I beat a retreat so she could tend to feeding her chicks.
This season, these birds have decimated the sweet corn crop in my vegetable garden. They efficiently stripped the husks and pecked the kernels from the cobs. Pukeko can be regarded with either irritation or amusement – depends on the situation. We have have observed Pukeko raid the nests of other birds. We’ve also watched noisy ground-aerial battles between Pukeko and the hawks that circle before attempting to swoop on the fledgling chicks. Screeching aggressive stubborn birds. But, on the other hand, Pukeko are often fondly viewed as character birds and feature in New Zealand stories or songs, design media and more recently, in advertisements. Enjoy these Youtube snippets filmed by other people showing Pukeko in different situations.
Sometimes I think I must seem to go on about trees being planted and trees being felled. Trees are the ultimate plant. In my previous post, I quoted Al Gore: “… the substantive significance – of planting a tree has universal power in every culture and every society on Earth”. Planting any tree is an action that forges a deep connection between human emotion and the well-being of ecological environment.
The significance of growing a tree has its roots in the mists of time. In this country, we have a taonga – a treasure, a living legacy. Tane Mahuta is a giant kauri tree growing in Northland’s Waipoua Forest and is considered to be more than 1,200 years old. Imagine. In its lifetime what has occurred on this earth. And it still stands, silent and statuesque. According to Maori mythology Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. Tane was the child that tore his parent’s parental embrace and once done set about clothing his mother in the forest we have here today. All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tane’s children. We need to know this story. We need to be reminded of a dimension of life that is greater than ourselves. We need to understand the importance of what we do now and the impact it has in the future.
I’ve just read a moving post written by in21 who beautifully describes the impact of her father’s concern for the future.
Quote: … he told me his goal was to plant a tree at every house he ever lived that would outlast his time in that place. He had a notion of leaving behind a living legacy. I have re-visited the houses where I grew up and there are beautiful trees in each lawn – a 40+ year old red maple in one place, evergreens and a gorgeous crabapple at the other. His most recent home has had its challenges with pear trees that break apart. But he is still working on leaving his legacy behind, even as he enters his late 70’s. I had to tell him that his legacy would continue through my efforts and I fully expect through the efforts of my children.
A flick through my posts and I see I’ve mentioned planting trees in relation to feeding the birds, shady spot for sitting under, remembering births of grandkids, fruit, firewood, shelter, carbon sink and visual appeal. Trees give so much.