Posted on 14th July 2011 by Media Relations
Friday was an interesting day for the Taronga Bird
Show crew. We expect that our feathered stars
may, at times, go for ‘extended’ flights, and Friday certainly delivered just
that. After completing our first show for the day, our flock of six Red-tailed
Black Cockatoos were spooked by a wild Brown Goshawk flying over-head. This
caused them to showcase a very different natural behaviour, that of
not keen about the possibility of ending up on the Goshawk’s
dinner plate, our flock quickly rode the winds to a greater height and
after a few minutes were lost from their trainers’ sight. We are experienced in
fly-off situations and have many strategies in place to deal with them. Having
presented over 10,000 shows in just over a decade it’s something we’ve become
pretty good at. Whether it is early training, strong winds or unwanted
attention from wild locals, skills necessary for coming home are very valuable
and part of their training.
Approximately 1PM was the
last time we saw our flock, at least for the next couple of hours. The team
divided to conquer; each searching different parts of Mosman and then the
out-skirting suburbs. As the hours rolled on, our hearts did sink a little.
It’s a little nerve wrecking when you don’t know exactly where they are, but as
always, in these situations we expect our birds to
come home in a timely fashion. 3:30PM arrived and still nothing. Most of our birds have trackers on them, which makes
searching for them a lot easier, but the
Red-tails are exceptionally clever and inquisitive and normally manage to get
their trackers off, so we literally have to see them to know where they are.
was when our media department became involved and enlisted help from an ABC
radio station. A media call was put out to nearby residents requesting aid and
just like that our hopes were raised and our spirits given renewed vigour.
Within a matter of minutes our white knight
called and alerted us of their location; a front yard in Balmoral. It is this
local support that never fails to amaze the Bird Show crew, and something we
are forever indebted to.
team was on the scene almost immediately! Upon seeing us, their trainers, our
flock became extremely excited. Crests up, loud vocalisations and the
occasional head bob. We gave the cue and one by one they descended from their
lofty perches ready to go home. This was at 4PM. After ten minutes we had
secured five of our wayward flock, Diyara though must have known I had dinner
plans! Slightly less confident and with the winds picking up, it took her a
little longer to join her friends. But as expected she worked it out.
6PM that night we were a very relieved team. All six Red-tails back, safe and
love being able to share our birds with Taronga’s visitors. They are thrilling,
entertaining, inspiring and remind us of the role we have to play in what is a
magnificent world. We hope to see you soon and share our mischievous black
cockatoos with you, and maybe they will excite you just as much as they excite