The crazy ups and downs of the weather lately have made for some interesting flying for Dixie the Whistling Kite. On the hot, still days she has done more sitting than flying but the constantly changing temperatures and wind directions have meant that on other days she’s done some spectacular flying. Southerly breezes bring the best flying conditions to the bird show and those are the days that I feel truly lucky to be doing this job!
When the wind hits the cliff below our stage, it lifts the birds effortlessly into the sky. This allows Dixie to hang motionless much the same as a paper kite on a string or even to dive and swoop gracefully over the audience’s heads in her pursuit of her prey. Under normal conditions we only get these breezes in the winter, however the past few weeks have had a few days which delivered these winds and Dixie’s show-stopping aerial acrobatics.
I recently had a show with these incredible winds where Dixie caught the updraft and shot so high that she was a mere speck in the sky. My favourite part came when I cued her with a subtle motion of my hand and she folded up her wings and plummeted towards the stage. Just as she pulled up to pass inches over the audiences head I threw her food as high as I could causing her to reverse her direction and climb skyward to grab the morsal out of the air with her nimble feet. The audience was enthralled by the speed and effortless manoeuvrability and once again I was reminded why Dixie is my favourite bird to work in the show! I love that bird….