'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


New Zealand has a dear little owl species.   When I was a little girl I grew up in a home on the bank of a river, and often at night I heard the call of the morepork owl (ruru) or the swamp hen (pukeko) and the familiar calls always make me feel safe and cosy even now.

The other night I was sitting in my study on dusk and not one but a pair fluttered into the strawberry tree just outside the window.  What a thrill!  I've heard morepork in most of the 14 years we've been here, but it was wonderful to actually see them for the first time.   Looks like we'll have some babies too!

They are tiny owls, as adults no more than 30 cm (12 ins) and you can see better pictures and hear their distinctive 'more-pork, more-pork' call and also their screech  here.

I took this photo at dusk on a tramp (hike) back from Ketetahi Springs in the central North Island.

Post Script:  The link I gave doesn't record the repetitive nature of the call, whereas this Department of Conservation one does.  You can hear another owl or two answering too.


  1. More pork! More pork! Chops and sausages and bacon, belly pork, loin steaks, pork roast with crackling! More pork!.... But what is Dylan doing on the recording? It's All Over Now Baby Blue - was he hitching through the NZ woods and was he addressing the little ruru as he took out his gun?

  2. Dylan? You've lost me YP. Perhaps Orange land crossed optical fibres on you. It works for me.

  3. What a cute bird! We used to have a family of screech owls living nearby that I loved to watch.

  4. It is the sound of summer, going to sleep listening to Morporks & waking up to the outrageous drunken garrulous Tui's.

  5. Anonymous12.9.08

    Oh, thank you for that! I remember hearing Morepork owls when we were in NZ!

    I loved the sound of the cicadas too. *Sigh of nostalgia*

    BTW, I hear no Dylan, either! YP must have had another tab open, I suspect.


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