Which would you choose, wings or stronger claws?

I was watching the Discovery Channel’s “Wild Pacific” tonight with my son and they featured “the world’s heaviest parrot” (this is the parrot whose amorous adventures were noted here before). The narrator is Mike Rowe, but I am sure he did not write the script. At one point we were told that because of the kakapo’s great weight and small wings “it evolved strong claws in order to climb trees” in order to reach their only source of food, berries at the top of a certain tree.

Now I have said before that I have no quarrel with evolution, but I find the suppositions of evolutionary development put forward often terribly amusing, not to mention facile (like Michael Polin’s personification of corn in Omnivore’s Dilemma). In this case I have to wonder why evolution, which is supposed to move along the lines of least resistance, chose to ignore the wings that the bird already possessed. Hmmm. Too fat and small wings….nah, let’s go with the claws!

I have my doubts…

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