We had an eventful start to 2011 when our newest Red-tailed Cockatoo, Keer-Jan-Dee, flew away. She flew off in a routine training session and was quickly out of sight and hearing range of the bird show keepers. Typically she had never travelled very far, so it was quite unusual that she had managed to disappear so quickly. We train all of our birds using positive reinforcement so they are rewarded for doing the right thing. This includes coming back!
After a few frantic days of searching and radio broadcasts identifying Keer-Jan-Dee’s disappearance, she landed on the shoulder of a lady working in her garden at Seaforth on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Fortunately for us the gardener realised that wild birds don’t usually land on people’s shoulders and that this bird must belong to someone. She took her to the local vets who made a few phone calls and found out that she belonged at Taronga. We were all very relieved but no one more so than keeper, Jane, who has been acting as the primary trainer for the bird.
The bird show has also welcomed the arrival of two Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos which were hand-raised by bird keeper, Michael. We already have Major Mitchell’s in the bird show so the two additions will join this flock that fly over the crowd as part of the Dreamtime story at the beginning of the show. We will start to familiarise ourselves with these birds before they graduate to going outside and free flying between two points. Every bird is different so we can’t say how long the training will take so we will keep you posted.
Bird Show Keeper, Grey.