Monday, April 03, 2006

What is a Pukeko?

After putting up a couple of progress photos of my Pukeko Sunset (and there will be more) I wondered if when people from around the world read my blog (one can only hope) – if they would wonder themselves, what sort of bird a Pukeko was.
So description time: (I can see the yawns starting!!!!)

PUKEKO (swamphen) Porphyrio Porphyrio Melanotus (other swamphens also available in Australia and other Southern Hemisphere countries LOL)
Pukekos are found throughout New Zealand in swampy areas, river banks and open scrub wetlands. They are about 51cm tall and slender. The head and wings are black, the body is a beautiful blue colour and the beak and legs are red. They run quite fast, fly in a really ungainly manner. They like to live in groups and the groups are very territorial. They are a game bird but are protected in some areas. The chicks are black and very cute in an ugly kind of a way. If something scares the group the babies will lie down and pretend to be dead, whilst the adults run around making lots of noise, trying to divert the attention of the predator.
On one of the farms I lived on, my cats used to stalk the pukekos. One of them brought a baby home, so I took it back in a plastic container and got attacked by the mother for my trouble. Very comical birds all the same.

New Zealand is a special place with the native birds we have. A lot of them are highly endangered. Pukekos are not. I used to work for the Department of Conservation at the breeding centre of one of New Zealands most critically endangered birds. The black stilt or Kaki. (There were only about 70 when I was there a couple of years ago) We don’t have any native animals, only the bat and some lizards and frogs. We do however have a lot of introduced predators like ferrets, possums, wild cats and other small animals. Because many of our birds are ground dwellers they fall prey to these various animals.

Eeek I have started rambling on about one of my loves - sorry. Just wanted to give a description of the pukeko for those that make have been wondering.

Better mention a bit of stitching I rotation is coming along well. Hopefully I wont become bored with it, but at this stage I can’t see that happening. Changing projects every 10 hours is actually making me want to stitch more...because I can't wait to change to the next thing :)


AnneS said...

I just loved reading about the Pukeko ... made me think about home big time :) Your stitched version is coming along beautifully :)) Finally remembered to add your blog to my favourites, so I can keep up to date - am a bit behind on blog reading this week due to shifts, but it's great to catch up on everything ... even if it's late :)

Congrats on clearing out the UFO box ... if it's anything like mine, it definitely would be a daunting task! haha. Your new rotation sounds good, too - I miss my rotation ... not much longer and I can get back into it again :) Look forward to seeing the progress piccies :D

Rowyn said...

I love Pukekos (and NZ birds in general). OH and I were just admiring some last night when we went out for a walk. The colours are so vibrant. It's unfortunate that there aren't more cross stitch designs of NZ birds available. Your Pukeko design is coming along great.