18 November 2010
Star is one of our resident Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos and is a pioneer of the Australia Zoo Bird Show. She's generally known as the queen bee around the Zoo and has been performing in the Crocoseum since the show first began back in 2005.
Star knows what she wants and makes her own rules. When each show starts, we pull down the aviary release hatches and all the birds make their way out into the arena. Not Star, she always waits until all the other birds have left, and only then will she make her grand entrance. She does this everyday without fail!
She may like to be the last bird out, but she also likes to be the first bird home. If she doesn't get her way you may witness a bird tantrum and see the tail end of her flying off into the distance - of course she comes back, but only when she's good and ready.
Star is the one bird that every handler wants to fly, but for some it will always be a dream. Star makes up her mind pretty quick about her handlers and some have worked around her for five years trying everything they can to get on her good side, but she won't have any of it!
She is also the master of escape. She uses her beak to grind the ends down on small sticks and then pokes them through the mesh of her aviary, flicking at the latch until it pops off the lock. Cheeky girl! She would rather do this to amuse herself than play with any of her toys.
During the shows, Star will dive bomb the cleaning staff if she spots them in the stands and sometimes she decides to chew the speaker cables high up in the rafters, so they dangle down and we have to get a cherry picker up there to fix them.
Our two Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos, Matari and Lueka are both in love with Star and chase her around all the time, they must enjoy a good challenge!
It's all in a days work for Star and you can tell just by watching her that she doesn't have a care in the world. She does what she wants to do and knows she looks good doing it. To work with Star is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of being a bird trainer at Australia Zoo.
Next time you see the show, keep an eye out for this cheeky cockatoo, who will no doubt be swooping effortlessly around the Crocoseum, making a spectacle of herself - she is definitely the one to watch!
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