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Kakapo Love
October 1, 2009 5:53 PM   Subscribe

'You are being shagged by a rare parrot'. Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine have been revisiting the animals on the edge of extinction which Douglas Adams described in Last Chance to See. Here they make the acquaintance of an amorous kakapo.
posted by homunculus (29 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fry recently wrote a nice piece on why he's doing this, but the Guardian has taken it down and I haven't been able to find it anywhere else yet.
posted by homunculus at 5:55 PM on October 1, 2009


Guys, I think that bird actually is Stephen Fry. Is there a wizard in the house?
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 PM on October 1, 2009


This has been a decent series. The komodo dragon episode was excellent for the scene where they released the baby turtles alone.
posted by fire&wings at 6:01 PM on October 1, 2009


Wow, great video. Although if in the wild those parrots are always that "friendly" towards humans (and presumably other non-parrots), I think we may have a clue as to why they're on the verge of extinction...
posted by Arandia at 6:06 PM on October 1, 2009


DAMN it! I was just about to post this...
That said, I eagerly await the arrival of our first Homo kakapens chick.
And for those who haven't quite fulfilled their parrot-humping-unwilling/inappropriate-love-object quota yet this evening, I give you this.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:13 PM on October 1, 2009


Wow. And I thought my day had gone all penis shaped.
posted by strixus at 6:23 PM on October 1, 2009


Hah, awesome.

I had a lovebird who was aroused by the sight of an old school Bell System desk telephone. He'd go into a frenzy of head-bobbing and clucking, followed by vigorously rubbing himself against the perforations covering the microphone while violently slapping his wings on either side of the handset, very much like the kakapo in the video. Unfortunately, he only did this when I was trying to talk into this phone and it made for many years of muffled conversations.
posted by jamaro at 6:39 PM on October 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


And I've heard other cockfighters talk about trips to the emergency room from a tournament, because someone wasn't careful handling a rooster and damn near lost an eye to a beak, or had their faces opened up by the wings beating--"It's just like what they say about dying by a bunch of paper cuts", one man told me, "just like a million paper cuts hittin' your face all at once."
posted by Sys Rq at 6:41 PM on October 1, 2009


And for those who haven't quite fulfilled their parrot-humping-unwilling/inappropriate-love-object quota yet this evening, I give you this.

That little parrot just wants his head scratched, and is asking the cat to do it. The cat, of course, has absolutely no clue. :)
posted by Malor at 7:46 PM on October 1, 2009


That's some video. All I can really say is roowwwrrrr.
posted by Go Banana at 7:48 PM on October 1, 2009


So I probably find this video all the more amusing because my quaker parrot has erotic predilections that i've been, uh, lucky enough to watch evolve for the past year and so. Originally, because one of his caretakers would actually masturbate him (she was german, she referred to it as a "massage" and asked me if the bird wasn't "a little bit erotic? yes?") ugh. I, however, do not masturbate my bird, which for many months left him with blue, or perhaps green, balls... as he'd get all het up and if you left your hand unattended for a few minutes, he'd fluff himself right up and proceed to sing the parrot version of Marvin Gaye's greatest hit to it. With creepy creepy foot touches and everything. This would alert me to the eminent violation of my hand which I would then withdraw.
After several months of being denied thus, he discovered that, like his own erotic self, showerpoofs are equally puffy and unlike human fingers, entirely passive and willing to be ravished by randy parrots. He has, for about 9 months now, been directing all his sexual attention to the showerpoof.
So, crossspecies erotic crises averted right? Well, limiting his humpity attention to all things poofy (i.e. not hands) was fine and good until a full bearded friend of mine came over. The extremely poofy aspect of this gentlemans face sent the bird into paroxysms of arousal behavior which I did not care to explain at the time.
The next day I told him that the bird was acting all weird because the bird wanted to hump his face. Two days later, the beard was gone.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:01 PM on October 1, 2009 [30 favorites]


Oh my. That parrot does look very, very happy.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:08 PM on October 1, 2009


Cold Lurkey, that's a priceless story! I recently acquired a free cockatiel and he wasted no time introducing his butt to my hand. Fortunately it has just been the one time so far. Eek! There are certain zones on a bird that should be avoided, according to Bird Talk, but I can't remember. Making sure that the bird gets 12 hours of darkness is also another way to curb randy behaviour.
posted by Calzephyr at 8:27 PM on October 1, 2009


And they love her and hate you. And will always hate you for loving her. Always.
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, this looks great, but didn't the BBC film a "last Chance to See" series with Douglas Adams? Regardless, I recommend the book to anyone, Adams fan or not, it is great. I avoided it for too long as I thought I would not be interested in his non-fiction.
As for the series, well if there is anyone I would want to see in place of Adams in this series, it would be Stephen Fry.
posted by evilelf at 8:43 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hah! Loving these vids. Check out this one of Fry and Company approaching a "dangerous" white rhino. This is one of my favorite TV moments of recent memory.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:47 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Damnit, EVERY time I read or hear about Last Chance to See, I am reminded of the autographed copy I no longer have. I know in my heart that I actually did meet Douglas Adams, if only for a moment, and that he was a great guy, but NEVER lend your books to friends or relatives, people.
posted by yhbc at 9:12 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


That bird is so...giddy. I've never seen such a delighted look on a bird.
posted by redsparkler at 9:49 PM on October 1, 2009


Thanks for this post. I just recently reread the Douglas Adams book. A short and excellent, though depressing, read.
posted by herda05 at 10:04 PM on October 1, 2009


This just made my day. My office has a policy of naming the development computers after birds (sparrow, albatross, hummingbird, etc). I recently purchased a 7.5 lb, 17" widescreen "portable work station" that will be nearly impossible to fly with. Because of the laptop's large size, and inability to use while flying I named it Kakapo. This video might make the explanation of my name choice a little easier.
posted by kscottz at 10:06 PM on October 1, 2009


Homonculus, I was able to find a copy by diligently searching Google's cache, ahh the all seeing eye of google...
posted by herda05 at 10:21 PM on October 1, 2009


Sorry about the name change Homunculus...
posted by herda05 at 10:22 PM on October 1, 2009


And I thought it was awkward when my cockatiel had his way with his food dish!

also- I too lent out a precious (though not autographed) hardcover copy of last chance to see that was never returned. grrr. It's one of my all-time favourite books, and I can't wait to see the new series.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:23 PM on October 1, 2009


Evilelf, I think it was recorded as a Radio series for the BBC, instead of a TV series.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 10:55 PM on October 1, 2009


Yesterday I was in Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum. On Level 3 there is a display which includes an exhibit about kakapo conservation.

There is a marvellous artifact there, which appears to be a roughly head-shaped globe made of ridged, soft plastic. The accompanying notes tell us that people had noticed the propensity for certain birds to try and mate with conservation workers' heads, and had designed a special piece of headgear to try and capture kakapo sperm for artificial insemination.

Sadly, it turns out that the item in question was a complete failure.

But anyway, there is a neat label telling you what the thing is called. My 14 year old daughter called out with some excitement: "Dad! It's an ejaculation helmet!"
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:25 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Through some good fortune, despite my worst fears, I found documentary proof as the first google result for "ejaculation helmet."

Exhibit A.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:28 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


i_am_joe's_spleen: "There is a marvellous artifact there, which appears to be a roughly head-shaped globe made of ridged, soft plastic.... a special piece of headgear to try and capture kakapo sperm for artificial insemination."

And thus we reinforce the evolutionary propensity for kakapo head-humping behaviour...
posted by Arandia at 12:36 AM on October 2, 2009


yhbc: "Damnit, EVERY time I read or hear about Last Chance to See, I am reminded of the autographed copy I no longer have. I know in my heart that I actually did meet Douglas Adams, if only for a moment, and that he was a great guy, but NEVER lend your books to friends or relatives, people."

I'd read a little about Adams' books growing up, and finally bought a paperback copy of Hitchhiker's Guide in a thrift store one night coming home from a long trip. It was the 1994 edition with the Adams-devised 42 puzzle on the cover, emblazoned over a hokey CGI landscape.

I fell in love with it and lobbied my high school English teacher at the time to include it on our summer reading lists for the next year, even wrote a paper on it. I finally took the stupid step of lending it to her over the summer (she was famously disorganized) and I never saw it again. (But I think the book did get added to the list in later years).

So it wasn't a first edition or even autographed, but it was well-worn and dog-eared and my introduction to the series. It was special to me, dammit!
posted by Rhaomi at 1:38 AM on October 2, 2009


This is good, but I really miss Douglas Adams. Charles Stross helps (bless him).
posted by bystander at 7:30 AM on October 3, 2009


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