Once found weak and unable to fly, Barinya the White Bellied Sea Eagle has slowly graduated to short flights over the amphitheatre at the QBE Free Flight Bird Show which she now calls home.
Our bird trainers have taken everything slowly and steadily since she was brought to Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital by a sea bird carer over seven months ago. Despite no obvious injuries, attempts to release Barinya had been made with no success. It is suspected that at some point in the earlier years of her life she was poisoned which has had neurological impacts. Being a bird of prey that couldn't fly would generally lead to an unfortunate death in the wild, so Taronga was seen as her last chance.
Taronga bird show trainers gradually gained Barinya’s trust. Initially they concentrated on building a trusting relationship with her, as this is the most vital part of any animal training. The trainers then moved to flying her between two keepers over a very small distance and once she proved her flying ability, the distance was increased. Now she is beginning to fly between two keepers across an empty bird show amphitheatre.
We hope to see Barinya, meaning 'star' in an Aboriginal language, start flying in the QBE Free Flight Bird Show every day. The show inspires people to learn about individual birds’ characteristics, as they watch them demonstrate their natural behaviours and show off their remarkable skills , while the presenters explain how human activities can detrimentally affect birds. We'll be sure to let you know when that day comes.
- Zoo Communications