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28.11.2019 Birds galore. It seems to be all about birds in New Zealand. They are on the money, people call themselves Kiwis, beer brands bear their names, and in the great outdoors we hear them sing all day long. In the past few days, the Three Rivers ride and the Manawatu Cycleway took us from Whanganui to Palmerston North via two simple DoC campsites in the middle of nowhere, and there we got complimentary birdsong concerts every morning and evening. Some songs, such as that of the tui, sound very exotic to our ears. In Palmerston North, or Palmy, we stayed with Josh and Meriam, who are very much into cycling, running and all kinds of outdoor activities. Together we went to the cinema to see this year's Reel Rock compilation of climbing films, and we had a great time talking to them and their housemates about cycling and travelling. It is always amazing to reach a new place and find like-minded people, or 'birds of the same feather'. Upon Meriam's recommendation, we visited the bird recovery centre of Palmy's Massey university, where wild birds that have undergone surgery or some other kind of treatment stay for a while before they can be returned into the wild. We saw a little penguin, a kea parrot, and more. They also have a kiwi there at the moment, but at the time of our visit the patient was probably asleep.  So unfortunately we have not seen a live kiwi bird so far, and the chances that we ever will are rather low. They are nocturnal birds, quite shy, and unfortunately not very numerous anymore, as predators – intentionally brought to New Zealand to combat a rabbit infestation – have diminished the population numbers of these flightless birds. However, New Zealand's most iconic animal has kept popping up in the form of stuffed birds, preserved skeletons and original eggs as well as drawings and larger-than-life representations all along our route – for example in Eketahuna, where we will camp tonight. #scoutbound #neuseeland #newzealand #palmerstonnorth #eketahuna #palmy #kiwi #tui #birds #money #departmentofconservation #warmshowers #couchsurfing #scouts #dpsg #worldbycycling

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