It's not every day that you come face to face with Australia's largest bird of prey, but a group of kids from our Zoo Adventures program can now boast that they got up-close to this striking new Zoo arrival.
"An eagle!" one boy shouted as the Bird Show Manager, Matthew walked out to the amphitheatre with our new Wedge-tailed resting on his left arm. From the first glance, everyone was immediately amazed at the bird’s beauty and vigour.
Under the sun, the brown and glossy feathers on the back of the eagle’s head ruffled in the gentle breeze giving the eagle a pretty spunky hair-do. His silver talons looked like iron nails and if you imagined a crown on his head, the regal Wedge-tailed Eagle would definitely look like the king of birds.
With nervous and excited looks on their faces, the kids listened as Matt told them about the eagle’s story and habits.
Despite the bird’s firm expression in the eyes and the quiet personality, our wedge-tailed king is in fact only about eleven months old and had a tough start to life.
The bird was found in Monbulk, Victoria, lying in a paddock, unable to fly. It was cared for at Healesville Sanctuary for a while, and without having learnt all the necessary skills from its parents to fend for itself in the wild, the youngster found a home at Taronga.
Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of our Bird Show Manager, Matthew, the eagle is making great progress and is already playing an important role teaching our visitors about this extraordinary species.
At the moment Matthew is taking the bird for walks around the Zoo to get him used to different people and environments. They’ve taken hour long walks through the Zoo to get the Eagle used to new environments and build up his confidence.
As Matt said to the kids, they might be enjoying school holidays, but there’s no school break for our new eagle. He’s constantly learning and expanding his knowledge and life experience, and the Zoo Adventurers helped out enormously during the Eagle training session just by letting him get used to different people other than his dedicated keepers.