I had the greatest of luck on a visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary last October: a chance to watch a bird training session and a TV filming. It was, I think, my second day at the Gold Coast (Qld), and being on holiday and having driven up from Sydney (NSW) I’d forgotten the time difference. We ended up, exhausted and thirsty, at the free-flight show an hour early on a hot and sunny day.
About half an hour in, a keeper appeared with a little raptor on his wrist and with clicks, soft whistles and a handful of treats put it through its paces. We were silent and the man didn’t invite us to leave, a mutually satisfying situation.
Training session over, the auditorium was taken over by a TV cameraman, a producer and a presenter from the Channel Ten children’s series Totally Wild. Today’s filming featured a wedge-tailed eagle which became wildly excited and flapped so violently when placed on the presenter’s wrist that it lost a flight feather.
When the show was over I had two trophies: The fallen feather I’d pointed out to my companions and which I’d been invited by the host to keep, the photos of the bird-in-training that had not made an official appearance.
Of course, no visit to an Australian wildlife park/zoo/sanctuary could possibly end without a koala:
Camera: Pentax K100D Super with Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED zoom lens. Cropping and resizing in Irfanview.