Kea parrots in New Zealand have been caught on camera shifting traffic cones into active lanes in a clever ploy to coax food from passing vehicles.
Kea parrots are known to be clever, playful and mischievous – attributes that have helped them survive in the forested mountains of New Zealand's South Island. A recent incident involving traffic cones has only added to the endangered bird's mystique.
It seems that traffic cones placed outside the one-way Homer Tunnel near Milford Sound were being shifted about, according to the Milford Alliance team of the NZ Transport Agency.
In an effort to find out who (or what) was moving their cones, the Milford Alliance team began reviewing video footage from their security cameras... and were shocked at what they found!
The culprits, caught red-handed (or red-taloned) in the act, were kea parrots. “We think the keas listen for the cars in the tunnel and move the road cones between the streams of traffic,” stated Milford Alliance Manager Kevin Thompson.
Now why would they do that? It's likely some cars slow down or pull over to avoid the moved cones, at which point the occupants notice the keas and feed them.
As the keas' actions increase the danger for both drivers and birds, the NZ Transport Agency has warned drivers not to feed the kea or interact with them near busy roadways. Dealing with the kea is another matter: the Agency is planning to test heavier road cones. (via Newshub)