Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Shagged by a Rare Parrot

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Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine head to the ends of the earth in search of animals on the edge of extinction.

In New Zealand the travellers make their way through one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. They are on a journey to find the last remaining kakapo, Strigops habroptilus, a fat, flightless parrot which, when threatened with attack, adopts a strategy of standing very still indeed.

This behavior is not uncommon among birds that are raised in captivity, particularly in parrots, which are altricial when born and become independent of their parents only slowly (by bird standards). This allows them to bond to their parents — which, if the bird is handfed, are humans — and view them as appropriate sexual objects. After watching this video, I am left wondering how many chicks this individual has fathered, because he may not view birds as mates.