Animal Diaries Archive
A Subtle Difference
23 May 2008
Whilst watching the Bird Show in the Crocoseum some patrons would notice subtle cues and commands that we use to guide our birds to perform in the show. If you have seen the Bird Show lately you would have seen one of our very special water bird stars, Flip the Pied Cormorant. Flip educates people on how to get rubbish out of our waterways everyday in the show. One of Bird Show’s mottos is if we can teach a little bird to get rubbish out of our waterways then you should be able to do this too.
Flip has many different cues to complete this routine. Firstly Flip is thrown a piece of food at the keeper’s feet. Flip then comes out of the water and eats the food. Once the keeper has Flip’s attention he will throw the toy into the water and Flip retrieves it and brings it to the keeper and then Flip is rewarded with another piece of food.
Recently the Bird Show team has had problems with getting Flips attention to demonstrate how to pick up this rubbish. Jason, one of our senior trainers picked up one subtle difference with Paxton, another senior trainer who was struggling to get Flip to come out of the water. The subtle difference was that Paxton was left handed. He held and threw the toy into the water with his left hand and not his right. The Bird Show team thought surely this slight difference between the trainers wouldn’t have any effect on Flip and his demonstration. How wrong we were! Paxton, has now started to throw the toy into the water using his right hand and hey presto Flip has managed to demonstrate this very important message every day without trouble. So next time you visit the Crocoseum to see our fabulous Bird Show, keep an eye out on the Flip and all the other fabulous birds and look for the subtle cues and commands that we use during the course of our show to help it all run smoothly.