Sadly, we’ll no longer enjoy the call of the morepork (ruru) that we often heard at night in the reserve behind our house. We had some friends around for a barbecue last night and one of our guests, while inspecting the garden, happened to look up into a big plum tree by our back fence and saw a large dead bird suspended in the branches. Closer investigation showed it to be a morepork – presumably the one that has been resident all these years.
I took the body to the local DOC ranger today, thinking it might be of interest. He explained that although moreporks are incredibly skilful fliers, their navigation system can sometimes be affected by storms and gale-force winds (which we’ve had lately). Apparently they have very precise mind maps, and if the branch of a tree (for example) suddenly pops up where they don’t expect it, they can come to grief. We can only assume that’s happened to our bird, which was hooked up in a tangle of branches and was dangling upside down.
Very sad, because it was a beautiful bird. I left it with DOC because they thought someone might be able to use the feathers. I might put up a “vacancy” sign by the entrance to the reserve and see if we can attract another one.