The Keruru Comes to Town

Today I wanted to share with you all something which has given me much joy in these uncertain times. I have always loved our New Zealand native pigeon,  the Keruru. Years ago when I was living away from the town they were a common sight. I loved their antics and their beauty. Unfortunately they have been on the decline but here in the top of the south, there have been a number of sightings and it seems like they are returning.

I decided several years ago to plant some tree lucernes or tagasaste.  The pigeons (keruru) love to nibble on the leaves and flowers of this tree and can eat them all year round. What was so exciting for me…was, that during lock down when the traffic was minimal, and along with many other birds, the keruru came to town and to my  garden. The reason I was excited was because I planted these trees a couple of years ago hoping they would bring the pigeons.  And they did!

The keruru, along with flocks of other native and introduced birds, fantails, green and other finches, sparrows, tahou or waxeyes, plus blackbirds and starlings, were a frequent sight though lockdown.  (See photo above for the keruru). Also to my delight, a number of Black morph South Island fantails arrived. ( See photo below). One bird, the weka, which has also been in decline and had recently been seen in this neighbourhood for the first time in years,  disappeared. Perhaps the competition was too much for him.


I still see them all but not in such large numbers. Fortunately the pigeons continue to  drop in for a chat. They drop in and I chat. They seem quite happy with that. During lock down, they also had an uncanny talent for doing flybys and flyovers when I was most in need of their special presence. Another pleasure was the the jollity of the  smaller birds who would swoop past unexpectedly close as if they were playing and I think they were.  Sadly they have retreated to normal behaviour now.

If you too like native pigeons  and live in NZ I recommend growing tree lucerne. I have seen quite a few of the smaller birds feeding off it as well, and it regenerates quickly.  For more information about NZ birds go here.

To find out about caring for keruru I recommend a look at Project Keruru Dunedin. 

NZ birds online are the source of the last two photos. 

I will be back with more poems soon. Be safe and well.