The Taronga Bird Show’s newest feathered star is Ord, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. Ord is currently being trained by keeper Brendan to sit on a specially designed box to take coin and note donations from visitors after the show.
The donation box program has been running since 2007, and has helped to raise over $130, 000 for the conservation projects that Taronga supports. Ord has been in the QBE Free Flight Bird Show for six years so he is used to soaring overhead and delighting visitors. But for his new role as a donation bird he needs to get used to being close to large groups of people.
You would have noticed at Taronga that all our keepers wear distinctive green jumpers. The downside of this is that Ord is only used to seeing people in green. This will not do as our visitors wear an array of colours and we don’t want Ord to get spooked. To prepare for his new role, Brendan put the call out to all the staff at Taronga to help train Ord by wearing a variety of colours and hats to ease Ord into his new job.
Brendan said,”it’s important for Ord to get used to as many environments as possible. All the staff were asked to come down and practice giving Ord different sized coins and notes for him to place in the box.”
“He’s getting more and more confident so he can enjoy the experience as much at the visitors.”
In training, a volunteer offers Ord a coin which he places in the donation box. Brenden gives Ord a seed and says “good” for encouragement and to thank him. Ord is doing well but it’s still taking him some time to get used to redheads.
Ord will join other donation birds, including Daggles the White-tailed Cockatoo which is also being trained.
Our QBE Free Flight Bird Show runs daily at 12pm and 3pm.
Madeleine Smitham, Media Intern