Rainy days are a little different for us at the Bird Show, because it means our shows might be cancelled.
It’s not so much we don’t like being out in the rain, but more that our birds can become so drenched with water, displaying their amazing aerial feats can be all that much harder. On this particular day we got rained out, so for Leslie, our Andean Condor got to do something else.
Being an Andean Condor, Leslie is very inquisitive and loves to explore. This type of vulture is not adapted for killing its own prey, but rather relies on what’s left over when another animal makes its kill. They will soar for hours on end, covering uncountable kilometres, searching for that carcass. When they find it, they will descend to the ground and start to devour it, starting with the softer, fleshy parts. Various species of vultures will eat different parts of a decaying animal, for example a Lammergeier (otherwise known as the Bearded Vulture) will make good use of the bones. Together they can recycle the mess and it leaves us with healthy, disease-free environments. Whilst I’m not about to jump in and eat an animal carcass, this recycling ethos of the vulture is a good habit to take on.
Since we didn’t have any decaying carcasses lying around, we modified a large recycled cardboard box and reused a whole bunch of newspaper we had stored for just an occasion. Just like pass the parcel, we wrapped many small (and large) packages for Leslie, put them inside and then sealed the box. We then gave it to Leslie! It was quite cool. Leslie started to walk up to it and investigate. When she was confident enough around it she placed one foot on the box and started ripping on in. The whole thing looked a little like a scene out of Jurassic Park! But, just like she would in the wild, Leslie worked the box as if it were a carcass.
This is a great and easy way, to keep Leslie healthy and active. If you have a pet at home try and create your own games or devices for them and see how much fun they have!
Brendan, Bird Show Keeper
Taronga Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 9978 4606
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 6881 1400
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