Animal Diaries Archive
Bonding with our birds
25 July 2008One of my roles in the roving department is to help train up and license our team with our beautiful roving birds. This can be lots of fun; providing it all goes down well. Have you ever heard the saying that elephants choose their own keepers? Well I truly believe the same should be said about birds!
Here at Australia Zoo we have a number of different birds, (with very different personalities) that we work with. Our roving birds include Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Eclectus Parrots, a Major Mitchell Cockatoo, a Laughing Kookaburra, a Bush Stone Curlew and a Little Falcon. These birds definitely seem to respond to people differently. This makes training with them quite interesting!
It pretty much is a process of elimination when we begin training with our birds. First we go into each individual bird enclosure (usually with a little bribery- sunflower seeds or nuts) and see how the bird reacts to its ‘new visitor!’ The response can sometimes be instantaneous. For example when Roving Kahlia recently first went into the Major Mitchell, Freddo’s enclosure, it was love at first sight. He was whistling, dancing and eager for pats and cuddles. On the other hand, if Roving Luke was to try bonding with him it would be a disaster as Freddo doesn’t respond to males very successfully.
A lot of our time, particularly in the mornings when the zoo hasn’t quite opened, is spent bonding with our chosen birds. Love and trust are essential ingredients in forming and maintaining relationships with our feathered friends. The birds definitely keep us busy and I must say are a big hit! Guests seem to really enjoy catching up with us and our cheeky birds around the Zoo.