Homeward Bound: A Hobby’s Tale

Homeward Bound: A Hobby’s Tale

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 03rd December 2013 by Media Relations

Ever been on an impromptu adventure? Our Australian Hobby and star of Taronga’s Bird Show, Pez certainly has!

Pez was recently spooked during a routine training session and, as anything would do when startled (animal or human), flew to a safe spot. Unfortunately on this day the winds were a tad strong and little Pez was carried off a bit further than he, and we, would otherwise have wanted.

The second smallest of six species of falcon found in Australia (the smallest being the Nankeen Kestrel), Pez inherited his name from the popular children’s candy dispensers. The dispensers are small, the candy goes quick, and both are true attributes of this little falcon.

His size was one factor that contributed to Pez taking his unplanned trip; think of the wind as a badminton racket and Pez as the shuttlecock. Weighing only 200 grams, Pez was unable to navigate the winds as skilfully as he usually would and his trainers soon lost sight of him.

The team has strategies to locate wayward birds in these scenarios, but after much searching we hadn’t had much luck finding Pez.

We use positive reinforcement when training any of our animals at Bird Show, which involves rewarding behaviours we want and ignoring those we don’t want. We work with the birds very closely on a daily basis and, as you can imagine, become rather attached to them, much as you might your family pet.

History has proven to us though, time and time again, that being persistent and staying positive pays off and at the end of the day we’ll recover our bird.

To our great relief, we received a call from Col Crawford Car Servicing in Brookvale, letting us know they had an interesting visitor, which turned out to be Pez!

Dubbed the “Pterodactyl”, as his saviours may have encountered a few nips while caring for him, Pez made his way to these friendly mechanics, who then contacted the zoo.

Having travelled quite far from home and dealt with arduous weather conditions, Pez was fairly weary. Since returning home he has had a two week recovery and is now readying himself for shows.

He flew on stage for the first time this morning, zipping up and down, all over the place! He’s extremely dynamic and now has a tail to manoeuvre, as well as a tale to tell.

Bird Trainer, Brendan