Making Friends with Barry
Thursday 4th March 2010

Barry the Pacific Baza is a stunning addition to our bird show.  With a brown and white-barred chest and an upright crest on their heads, Pacific Bazas are one of the most beautiful of all Australian birds of prey.  Since Barry was a wild bird which came through our wildlife clinic (he lost the sight in one of his eyes) the first stage of his training is simply to convince him that I am a good thing to have around.  I spent the first few days simply walking into his aviary, leaving a piece of food on a stump, and walking back out.  He would wait until I was well out of sight before he would come down to eat the food, sometimes it took up to a half an hour!  After a couple days of doing this he began to fly down for the food more quickly and wasn’t always waiting until I was out of sight.  I was able to stand just outside the aviary door and watch as he swooped down for his treat.

After two weeks, I decided that he needed to eat with me still in the aviary.  I would leave the food on the stump as before, but this time if he hadn’t taken it with 3-4 minutes I would leave and take it with me.  This only happened a couple of times before he was flying down and grabbing the food with me still standing inside his aviary.  He still didn’t have the confidence to sit on the sump and eat it with me that close however, so he would grab the piece of food in his nimble feet as he passed over the stump, twist mid-air, and fly back to the back perch where he would eat the food.  Over the week as I watched him do this I stood closer and closer to the stump.  I was always amazed at just how nimble this bird was in the air as I had never seen one fly before.  In the wild, Bazas catch stick insects and tree frogs.  I can only imagine that this agility would be very useful in pursuing their prey.  Building my relationship with this little bird has not only been a rewarding experience for me but an educational one as well.

Grey

QBE Free Flight Bird Show Trainer