Saturday, April 12, 2014
K is for Kakapo
The Kakapo weighs nine pounds, fully grown, and is the world's only flightless parrot. And I say thank goodness. One thing we don't need is a bunch of nine-pound parrots flying overhead. They have a sweet, floral smell, which is not something I associate with parrots I have known.
The few kakapos we have left live in New Zealand - there are only about 150 or so. At night they come out - they are nocturnal - and root around for food. This system worked very well for the kakapo until sailors started bringing over cats and rats which are also nocturnal and also root around for food at night and for whom a flightless, nine-pound parrot is a dream come true.
When kakapos mate, the males gather around making enticing displays - enticing to a kakapo - and the females choose their favorites for a quickie and then they never see each other again. This sounds very sexy and daring, but think what they've ended up with. Nine-pound flightless parrots that smell like flowers. It probably didn't help matters that the females were making their selections at night.
One does not wish to blame the victim here, but we can't help but wonder how the kakapo managed to paint itself into such a corner, evolution-wise. Like the dodo, it found itself in an isolated island without predators and just let itself go. Then when the rats and cats showed up, it was a sitting duck, or sitting kakapo if you prefer.
Let that be a lesson to the rest of you.