Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Bird in the Hand

The South Island Robin
Pitoitoi or Toutouwai
Like a number of small forest birds that had no use as food or for their feathers, the robin was considered by early Maori to have special powers in telling in the future. If you heard a robin's call on your right side, it was good luck and if you heard it on the left, it was bad luck. I photographed this little down down on Stewart Island. Robins are incredibly friendly and as you walk through the forest, they hop out onto the paths in front of you. If you scratch the earth with your hand, or with a stick, they'll hop over to hunt for bugs. Because their numbers have severely declined they are a protected bird and this little guy has banded ankles thanks to conservation efforts by the Department of Conservation.

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