Pūkeko as common ‘car-window' birds cop a bit of contempt-by-familiarity. Their preference for hanging out by the roadside (and not always getting to the other side) means they are one of the few native birds we regularly see pressed into the asphalt.
To pooks, roadsides are resources. They're drawn to them by the drains that provide the sort of habitat they like, and which has almost disappeared elsewhere ie. native raupō swamp. Despite appearances, they are not stupid or suicidal - it's just a yummy food source outweighs the 1-tonne, high-speed risks nearby!
A study by Clare Washington (Lincoln University) showed roadsides are regularly mowed and pūkeko prefer those new shoots of grass (wet weather and springtime also bring them to the roadside to feed on new growth). Pūkeko also need some grit for their gizzards (pouches in the bird's digestive system where coarse food is ground up with pebbles). There is little in the way of grit in a wetland, so pooks search along the roadside for hard (eg. quartz) pebbles.
Pop back to Te Swamp Gallery