New Zealand’s Mt. Cook National Park encompasses over 400 square miles of rugged uplands and sweeping glacial valleys that meander and climb amongst the shadows of all but one of this island nation’s 3000k peaks. Here in this alpine kingdom, one braided by New Zealand’s largest glaciers, and speckled with over 300 species of plants, lives the worlds largest buttercup, the famed Mount Cook Lily (Ranunculus lyalli), a dish sized flower with a dollop of brilliant yellow at it’s heart center - a surefire lure for pollinators, namely some of the parks 223 moth species. Yet, among the obscurities aforementioned, the world’s only alpine parrot, better known as the Kea, reigns most unique. The kea is unlike most parrots in that it’s omnivorous, and is known to eat meat. It’s also widely regarded as a brilliant bird, as it’s been recorded using tools and working collaboratively with other Kea. Interestingly, it’s regarded as the “clown of the mountains”, as these birds are well known for their unwavering curiosity, which often leads these alpine parrots into unsuspecting park visitor’s backpacks and cars. So, if you find yourself gazing high into the luminous peaks and glaciers of Mt. Cook National Park, be mindful that the world’s only alpine parrot may be half way into your backpack in search of some of that trail-mix you’ve been living off of for the past two weeks.