Free Range to End of Range

By Tracy Brighten

A poem written in the style of restaurant discourse to voice the plight of  New Zealand’s native birds

Tui in Kowhai tree

Although native birds aren’t normally eaten, I am appealing to the reader’s sense of taste, while simultaneously repulsing them with how wild birds are being killed.

Native birds are facing increasing threats from non-native predators such as possums, rats, stoats, cats and dogs, and also from human behavior such as irresponsible pet ownership, beach and car use, hunting, longline fishing, overfishing and oil spills.  

Free Range to End of Range

While stocks last,
Choose from our new menu of free-range birds,
Sourced and slaughtered in the wild.

To start
Stitchbird soup with garlic croutons

For main
A little cautious perhaps, then try
Mature tui tossed in cats-up sauce with fries
Silvereye skewered on cat’s tongue cookie with cranberry coulis
Peppered pukeko served with Huntsman’s relish
Poached South Island kaka caged in lattice pastry
Sole on scrambled dotterel eggs with wine reduction
Car-grilled blue penguin steak in squash surprise.

More adventurous, less conscientious, then try
Australasian gannet wings drenched in oil on sea-salt couscous
Line-caught royal albatross with tangled seaweed
Rare fairy tern with sterlet caviar steeped in sorrel jus
Sun-dried yellow-eyed penguin with bitter-sweet squid garnish
North Island kiwi bled overnight served shredded on forest leaves
Medallions of moa cooked to extinction.

To finish
Our speciality dessert – Death by Complacency.


Image credit: Tui in Kowhai tree by Sy on Flickr   (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

© All posts are protected by copyright with all rights reserved. You are very welcome to link to an article, but if you would like to re-publish my work, commercially or non-commercially, please contact me. Thank you.

About Tracy Brighten

A ‘healthy nature, healthy people’ advocate, Tracy is in her element crafting health, nature and sustainability stories that connect with your audience. Freelance content writer, copywriter and copy editor at

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