When it rains …

When it rains …

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 04th October 2011 by Media Relations

Rainy days are a little different for us at the Bird Show, because

it means our shows might be cancelled.

It’s not so much we don’t like being out in the rain, but more

that our birds can become so drenched with water, displaying their amazing

aerial feats can be all that much harder. On this particular day we got rained

out, so for Leslie, our Andean Condor got to do something else.

Being an Andean Condor, Leslie is very inquisitive and loves

to explore. This type of vulture is not adapted for killing its own prey, but

rather relies on what’s left over when another animal makes its kill. They will

soar for hours on end, covering uncountable kilometres, searching for that

carcass. When they find it, they will descend to the ground and start to devour

it, starting with the softer, fleshy parts. Various species of vultures will

eat different parts of a decaying animal, for example a Lammergeier (otherwise

known as the Bearded Vulture) will make good use of the bones. Together they

can recycle the mess and it leaves us with healthy, disease-free environments.

Whilst I’m not about to jump in and eat an animal carcass, this recycling ethos

of the vulture is a good habit to take on.

Since we didn’t have any decaying carcasses lying around, we

modified a large recycled cardboard box and reused a whole bunch of newspaper

we had stored for just an occasion. Just like pass the parcel, we wrapped many

small (and large) packages for Leslie, put them inside and then sealed the box.

We then gave it to Leslie! It was quite cool. Leslie started to walk up to it

and investigate. When she was confident enough around it she placed one foot on

the box and started ripping on in. The whole thing looked a little like a scene

out of Jurassic Park! But, just like she would in the wild, Leslie worked the

box as if it were a carcass.

This is a great and easy way, to keep Leslie healthy and

active. If you have a pet at home try and create your own games or devices for

them and see how much fun they have! Brendan, Bird Show Keeper