The return of our feathered friend...

Monday, December 12, 2011 

Our Christmas present came early this year. A surprise visit from Pookie.

We raised Pookie from an egg about two summers ago. He or she (we never knew…but will refer to her as she!) was an amazing vocal, wee chick with long, gangly legs and an enquiring personality. She considered herself one of the family and felt very much at home snoozing on the arm of the sofa, watching television, following us around and being very social especially over a cuppa! When she reached those awkward teenage years and wanted more freedom and say - she gracefully moved outside, extended her territory and took up an apprenticeship as Gordon’s number one workshop assistant.
She was ever so keen to pick up the screws, nails and the woodwork pencils! She was good at meet and greet and would wait for our return up at the gate and race down to welcome us when the we got out the car.

About 14 months ago it must have been time to say goodbye. We thought it out of character when on dusk one evening she tapped on the glass slider and called out demanding some attention. She was very persistent and tapped many times wanting lots of head scratches and cuddles. We of course always gave them to her; she was one of the family and much loved!
The next morning she was gone never to be seen again. Having raised pukekos before we were secretly expecting her to leave our family and go out into the big wide world. That day had finally come. Over the 14 months we have often wondered what became of her…especially on sighting the occasional squashed one on the road …but to our delight one morning last week she came back to visit.
Across the lawn and up to the bedroom window she ventured. We tossed out a few crumbs of our dunked pre-breakfast gingernuts (a bad habit started when pregnant with the twins!) and she scoffed them up! This is definitely a pet pookie? Is she ours?

Next she went along the deck and up to the living room sliders, which we opened…in she came wandering around like she knew the place. I got the kids ready and on the bus and returned to the house to find her sitting like she used to on the back of the sofa. She amused herself all morning inside… up and about on my desk playing with the pencils…checking out the trays of hatching eggs (NO Pookie!) and inspecting all the feeders and drinkers we have on display. She followed us around all morning doing all the old pookie things that only pookie used to do and napping occasionally on the sofa between bursts of activity.

I eventually turfed her out into the rain when I needs to get on…she was then up at Gordon’s shed inspecting all the machinery and the things men keep in sheds!(say no more!) . She did call out and to our surprise 3 other pukekos appeared in the paddock - two young ones and another adult….her family?…who knows.

The thought of having Pookie return to live with us daily crossed my mind briefly…would I have to hire a pookie sitter?(she is a very interactive/hypoactive bird!)…would Gordon want his workshop apprentice back again!! Fortunately the visit was fleeting. We were over the moon to see her (and her family?) and delighted to know she was well and loved. The journey from the egg to the chick to the gangly teenager had been worth it!! The only difference we noticed was that at some stage she must have broken her leg as it had mended at awkward angle – other than that she was in good spirits. So three cheers for Pookie - who says birds have a 'birdbrain' and short memories!


Fionna Appleton
Appletons Hen Houses and Poultry Supplies