Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Size matters? I think not. Check out Pez, our male Australian Hobby. The Australian Hobby is one of this country’s smallest raptors, second only to the Nankeen Kestrel. He looks fair sized in comparison to the city in the back ground but little Pez stands at only about twenty centimetres tall and weighs in at just under two hundred grams. That’s not even the average weight of an orange you’d pick up in the super market.

Pez is a young bird that came to Taronga Zoo when he needed a new home. We currently have two Peregrine Falcons Nike and Khan, but they need very special wind conditions to fly in our show. Pez though, being much smaller isn’t as restricted and is set to be a super nova. He is becoming quiet a confident little bird and an apt flier.

If you were wondering why Pez, it comes down to his species namesake; hobby. Everyone has a hobby, some people like model planes, others prefer rock-climbing and then there are those that are obsessed about Pez dispensers; just ask Bird Trainer Grey. We don’t judge. Like a Pez dispenser he is compact, solid and goes mighty fast. Have you ever been able to make that candy last for longer than two minutes? Not I.

Being new though Pez is still learning and likely to make mistakes; we expect this. I make mistakes daily, it’s what I learn from them that matters, and hopefully, prevents me from making them again. It’s exactly the same for Pez, he needs to learn the wind conditions and how to take advantage of his environment.

Because he’s small and a bird of prey he gets a lot of attention from the native birds, which try to chase him away. This happened yesterday and our team then spent the next three-quarters of an hour trying to locate him. He was driven out of the area by a Pied Currawong, flying from the zoo to Clifton Gardens. Just one more experience in Pez’s learning curve … and a little bit of cardio for his trainers.  

Bird Show Keeper, Brendan 

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