Meet the weka, the friendliest bird of the Milford Sound. There was a family of five nesting in the grasses alongside the picnic area on the shore.
They're an endemic species and frequent visitors of campsites and picnic areas, nibbling crumbs and befriending anyone willing to share a snack. A flightless species, weka are commonly mistaken for New Zealand's most famous land-bound bird, the kiwi (which are much larger, nocturnal, and very rare). But these weka were more gregarious than the two kiwi we met, and I found these chicks with their downy feathers and feet like oversized puppy paws profoundly endearing.