Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties

Kakapo Parrot Day on December 11

Nic Bishop

 Kakapo Parrot Day on December 11

The kakapo looks like a cross between a child's plush toy and a Dr. Seuss character: a giant, 10-pound parakeet clad in shockingly soft, honey-scented feathers. It's the most paradoxical of parrots: it can't fly; it's active only at night; and it nests underground. Yet it is a bird so appealing that one early naturalist described it as "the most wondrous, perhaps, of all birds." Before the introduction of predators like rats, stoats, and cats, the huge, trusting, friendly, and curious parrot was common throughout New Zealand. By the 1950s, the species was thought to be extinct. Now the bird has won a second chance at survival--and has inspired a celebrated new book, a powerful documentary film, and a special friendship between a Connecticut 13-year-old and a nationally acclaimed author. Come celebrate all three on December 11 at a program that brings them together for a dramatic afternoon of film, fun, food, and friendship.

 Bestselling author Sy Montgomery will offer a presentation about her research expedition among the kakapo for her new book, Kakapo Rescue. Fewer than 90 kakapo were alive when the author made the trip in 2008, confined to the tiny, windswept Codfish Island off New Zealand's south coast. Because the kakapo breeds intermittently, each nest is so precious that it is equipped with a video camera and a pair of "nest nannies" assigned to camp beside the underground nest to care for eggs and chicks when the mother exits on her nightly hunt for food. Joining Sy at the podium is her 13-year-old friend, Aaron Friedman, a young conservationist from Wilton. "You could not imagine a more vulnerable creature that so desperately needs our protection and help to survive," Aaron told the guests at his Bar Mitzvah earlier this fall--inspiring them to donate more than $2,500 towards the kakapo rescue efforts.

 During an intermission with refreshments, copies of the new book will be available for sale and signing, a portion of which will be donated to kakapo conservation. Afterward, stay to view the breathtaking new 77-minute film, The Unnatural History of the Kakapo, which was made during Montgomery's visit to Codfish Island by her colleague Scott Mouat.

This event will be held at Audubon Greenwich, 613 Riversville Road in Greenwich. The lecture is at 2 p.m., followed by a reception at 3 p.m., and the film at 3:30-5 p.m. Please RSVP to Jeff at 203.869.5272 x239 to reserve your seat. A suggested $10 donation will be sent to the Kakapo Recovery Project.