It's only when you see a small group of feral chickens coming out of the underbrush in a Hawaiian forest, that you realise that the birds you know are mere facsimiles of the real thing. Even though these birds, like many you see on Big Island, are interlopers, they're more at home here than most of the places you'll see them. Suddenly things make sense: the high stepping walk as they cross exposed roots, the bright coloured feathers to stand out from the viridian bush, the loud cry to keep flocks together, the scrapping to find insects and seeds under the detritus of the forest floor.
You hear them coming first, the cluck of the hens and the crowing, herding call of the cocks. They're wary, hiding from mongoose in the bush, darting behind leaves at every noise. Then they come out, ballet stepping across the forest floor, the cocks guiding the hens across the clearing - fast - to keep out of danger.
Lava Trees, Big Island, Hawaii