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Bad Birds

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April 13, 2017

According to my mother, there are good birds and bad birds. Quails are gents. Thrushes are beautiful. Blackbirds have a lovely song. The flightless native kiwi is a poor wee thing.

Today we watched from the kitchen window as a group of quails feasted on crushed acorns. Mum counted them with pleasure, eight in all. ‘Lovely little things.’

Pukekos (native New Zealand water hens), on the other hand, are bad birds. ‘Bastards.’

My mother gets fired up when pukekos visit.

‘They rip up my scarlet runners (beans),’ she says. ‘They come in here and steal my potatoes.’

She was telling the potato story to my sister one day as they arrived home. My sister was sniggering. Haha. What a ridiculous idea.

As they drove into the driveway, Mum said, ‘What the hell is that?’

My sister looked. It was a pukeko, sprinting out of the garage with a potato in its beak.

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