Rotorua is rightfully taking its place among the eco-tourism destinations of New Zealand.
The flashy aerial displays of the Karearea (New Zealand falcon) were the star of the show at Wingspan, New Zealand’s only bird of prey centre in Rotorua, until we got a private audience with a ruru (morepork).
Bleary eyed and wobbly on its feet, it emerged from its hiding place for its dinner, served in bite-sized chunks by Katie, one of the centre’s falconers. It wasn’t all easy pickings, however. Katie launched a piece into the air and, quick-as-a-flash, and without a sound, the ruru had swooped to grasp it in its tiny talons.
Watching karearea and ruru in flight is something New Zealanders rarely get to witness, in the former’s case because of the birds’ rarity and, in the later, due to its nocturnal lifestyle.