Kea Parrot Steals Passport

Two Keas parrots conspire on the rooftop of The Hermitage Hotel at Mt. Cook in New Zealand.

Two Keas parrots conspire on the rooftop of The Hermitage Hotel at Mt. Cook in New Zealand.

My favorite parrots are in the news again!  A Kea parrot has stolen a passport from a tourist visiting New Zealand. ( See the story below.)  The Keas hang out at a tunnel that everyone must pass through to get to Milford Sound.  Everyone stops there, because it’s a one-lane tunnel.  The keas are probably part of an international passport theft ring.  At the bottom is a link to a post I wrote about keas, which includes some great videos (which I didn’t take).    

 An Associated Press story, May 28, 2009.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Polly wants a passport — and isn’t above stealing one.

A brazen parrot, which spotted a Scottish man’s passport in a colored bag in the luggage compartment under a tour bus, nabbed the document and made off into dense bush with it, the Southland Times newspaper reported Friday.

The bird — a parrot of the Kea variety — made its move while the bus was stopped along the highway to Milford Sound on South Island, and the driver was looking through the compartment. Milford Sound, which runs inland from the Tasman Sea and is surrounded by sheer rock face, is part of Fiordland National Park, a world heritage site and major travel destination.

Police told the newspaper the passport has not been recovered and is unlikely to be located in the vast Fiordland rain forest.

“My passport is somewhere out there in Fiordland. The Kea’s probably using it for fraudulent claims or something,” the passport owner, who did not want to be named, told the newspaper.

A replacement passport from the British High Commission  in Wellington could take six weeks and cost up to $250.

“I’ll never look at a Kea in the same way,” the man was quoted saying.

Kea, the world’s only snow line-dwelling parrot, are widely known as inquisitive birds who appear to take delight in attacking rubber items like windshield wiper blades.

Native to New Zealand, the birds are found only in or near South Island mountains, where they live in high-altitude beech forest and open sub-alpine herb fields that stretch up into the snow line.

Covered mainly in brown and green feathers, they have large flashes of bright orange feathers under their wings.

My post about Kea Parrots.

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5 Comments

Filed under Animals, Bird-watching, Birds, Humor, Life, Nature, New Zealand, Personal, Random, Travel

5 responses to “Kea Parrot Steals Passport

  1. alwaysjan

    At least the bird has the sense to steal a Scottish passport. As you know, we have an entire flock of good ol’ green parrots living on our block, but they’ve no need for a passport. Life is too good for them here with the warm weather and fruit trees. Bird brain that I am, I had no idea that there were parrots that lived at the snow-line. Interesting! We had a ferret who was also obsessed with rubbery things and would have loved to chomp on a windshield wiper blade or two. He had to settle for those rubber shoe inserts and the foam padding under rugs.

  2. This is a cautionary tale of parrots and passports, of cabbages and…. 🙂

  3. They would be prime recruits for Fagan… fact stranger than fiction indeed. And great write-up for the Kea parrot post. I was thinking of Hitchcock’s The Birds when I read it. Should be a great re-make with NW and GC… and beautiful NZ. Thanks for these interesting posts!

  4. Thanks for the hysterical post! Who knew?

  5. Tesseract

    I hope they’ve tracked down the one on the right and take off that band, the left leg is horribly swollen and black around that old tin band and if it isn’t removed it will go gangrenous and the bird will lose the foot and likely die of sepsis.

    I hope someone noticed and took action. 😦

    I just emailed the Kea photo and your comment to the Hermitage Hotel, so I hope someone looks out for these wonderful, endangered birds. Cathy

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