Cheeky road cone-moving Kea caught on camera confusing traffic

What's Fresh 10/01/2018

A couple of cheeky kea may have thought they were being helpful by moving road cones at the Homer Tunnel at Milford Sound, but the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) thinks they are anything but.

CCTV video of the mischievous native birds at the tunnel's entrance solved a mystery which left the Milford Road Alliance puzzled.

In recent weeks, workers had arrived to find the road cones in "odd places", but once they reviewed the footage the culprits were caught red-footed.

Milford Road Alliance manager Kevin Thompson thinks the birds are using their keen ears and quick-thinking to their advantage.

"We think the kea listen for the cars in the tunnel and move the road cones between the streams of traffic," he says.

It could be an attempt to get cars to slow down or to stop and feed them.

In response to the inventive birds, the Milford Road Alliance - a partnership between NZTA and Downer NZ - is looking at heavier road cones.

They say people shouldn't feed the birds or encourage their activity near traffic.

The Department of Conservation also has the same advice, saying a key to "solving kea mischievousness" is to get rid of food sources the birds don't normally eat.

Kea, the world's only alpine parrot, have a reputation for their intelligence and for their destructive behaviour including pulling soft rubber parts off cars.

A group of kea is known to hang around public sites around Fiordland like Milford Rd and Milford Sound.