Seen on the Milford Road, South Island, NZ, where these magnificent birds strut around like they own the place, sometimes stealing wiper blades and lens caps from hapless tourists.
This one was tagged, but not all of his confederates were. They're extremely vulnerable birds (though not as endangered as their cousins the kakapo), and I assume the Dept of Conservation keeps track of individuals. Unfortunately their charisma is a mixed blessing: they're overfed by tourists, becoming habituated to people and traffic in the national park here, where many die on the roads. They're also vulnerable to nest predation by introduced mammalian pests, like a lot of NZ birds.
They're incredibly intelligent (like, great ape or raven smarts) and curious. This one watched me a while, but when he figured out I was just going to take photos and not feed him, he quickly lost interest in me and went to investigate someone else's car. At least until I got back into mine and was fiddling with my camera: I heard a thump, footsteps, and a twanging noise. I got out of my car, and he was sitting on my roof, looking innocent as the aerial snapped back. Attempted vandalism?
I went to Seattle over Thanksgiving, which is where I grew up. I really, more than anything, want to move back there - every time I return I miss it SO much. But it's hard when you're an adult to drop everything and start new Stuck in the flatlands of Illinois now, but here are a couple pictures I took. And mind you, these were driving in the car - we did not actually pull over anywhere or venture out of our way to take photos. It's amazing that these views are right from the highway.
The last one was actually taken by my 21 year old son. I loved watching him pause continuously during the hike, squatting down to take close-ups. It warms my heart seeing his appreciation for the subtle beauty of nature.