I never used to think a lot of these birds, as quite often Pukakos are road kill, and have no road sense at all. They live up to 6 years old.
Now, I began with one Pukako visitor, that used to hide in a tree and fly away when I came outside. Gradually, he came out and accepted bread from me. First he did was to dip the bread in a very muddy pool and eat it. They eat by holding the food in their foot and using it like a fork to eat from.
This Pukako became quite bonded to me, and at present there are now 4 regular Pukako visitors, but the first one visitor is most loyal. Often if I speak, the Pukako come running to me hoping for food, either bread or bird seed.
Farmers and gardeners hate this bird because they create havoc in the garden as I have found out. Their beaks are much like pliers and they are strong in pulling out roots. So I have trained them to pull out a very nasty weed called “Kikuya”..I put my back out for 2 weeks because I pulled it out the wrong way..So hence, I employ the very bird to do the job for me, which the Pukako has been extremely efficient at doing.
However, I discourage it from attacking plants by putting detergents around it, such as bird netting and prickly branches etc…Some plants I simply put into a walk in plastic greenhouse, and they are growing very well indeed.
Sadly, Pukakos also kill young ducklings and they are brutal..They are part vegetarian and part predator and also eat small birds..The Pukako does not like the Ducks that visit us and the Ducks can stand up for themselves and ignore the Pukako..
Here are a few pictures, for the thumbnail, the pukekohe taking kikuyu weed out of the front garden. The lemon tree has prickly branches and my flowers and inside that.
Apparently never look the Pukako chicks in the eyes.. I don't know why Bird Rescue gave this advice.
With a beak like this, I am not surprised that it would scare some cats away...Im pleased with that, Notice its eyes are towards the front as bird or animal predators eyes are. They are red.
The Pukako is a polite and graceful bird as well as eating ...It only takes what it needs and not more..