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Today, Erin and I took our female brolga Billy for a walk around the zoo. She has been in our QBE Free Flight Bird Show for nearly as long as it has been running. Going for a walk is something a little different for Billy and allows her to investigate different areas.

When we walk her around in public, people can be a little intimidated because as a crane she is rather large and does have a long, sharp beak. This beak of hers isn’t used for spearing objects though; it’s her version of a spade and assists in sifting through soil and leaf litter when foraging for worms and grubs. She has a very pleasant demeanour though and is always friendly. Today we walked around behind the Bird Show, so we didn’t bump into many people, only the occasional keeper.

When we started to head down the hill Billy was getting really excited. It’s been a short while since her last recreational walk. Walking her is part of her enrichment program, similar to an exercise program for us. As we headed out she started flapping her wings, springing into the air and bending her neck backwards. Brolga’s are known for their dancing skills and Billy is very graceful. We stopped and let her dance.

Billy & Brendan Running lo

When Billy was done Erin and I lead her further along our trail. We found a park bench and sat there as Billy foraged through the mulch. She occasionally was rewarded with a gooey discovery and quickly gulped it down.

After a while at our bench we went for a short run along one of the lower paths and Billy eagerly trotted behind me. We then found another shady area on the side of the Bird Show cliff that caught Billy’s eye. Her eye sight is brilliant! She can see the smallest thing, and if it interests her, she’s there in a flash. I climbed the escarpment with her as she investigated. I pointed out a few things to her and funnily enough she returned the favour … nothing I was really interested in though. Billy and I have very different tastes!

Billy & Erin lo

After thirty minutes of fun it was time to head back though. Billy, Erin and I walk back to Bird Show and got ready for the 3PM presentation. There’s always fun to be had at Bird Show … and Billy is no exception!

- Brendan

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