The Wedge-tailed Eagle is the largest of Australia’s birds of prey. At rest it stands nearly a metre tall and has a wing span of up to 2.8 metres. It is a bird found throughout all of Australia and is a common sight soaring on high in rural areas. While it is more common in open country, it can also be found in mountainous and forested areas. It builds a large nest in a prominent, high position using sticks and twigs, adding to the nest year after year. Some can reach very large proportions, several metres deep and wide. At the beginning of each nesting attempt the nest is lined with fresh eucalyptus leaves.
The bird shown in the photos on this page were taken during the Free Flight Bird Show at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, on our visit there last year. This show is always the highlight for us whenever we visit the zoo. To have a large eagle such as this swooping low over your head is a truly awesome experience. I’m pleased that the zoo keepers have plenty of food for the birds during the show; I’d hate for one of these eagles to settle on my should and take a chunk out of my ear or nose.
Over recent days I’ve been writing about the Free Flight Bird Show at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. This show is, in my opinion, a must see when visiting this wonderful zoo. The talk by the keepers about Australian birds is interesting enough, but the antics of the trained birds are not only entertaining but are highly educational as well.
One of the birds in the show is a clever Galah shown in today’s photos. It is trained to collect a coin or a note from a willing spectator in the audience and then bring it back to the keeper, who pockets the money. A few minutes later the Galah returns the money to the hapless audience member. After the show audience members can get up close to some of the birds, including the Galah. This time the bird is trained to collect coins donated by people and to deposit them in a money box. In this way, over $75,000 has been collected in recent years towards conservation projects. This also enable people like me to have excellent photo opportunities.
The Barking Owl is one of Australia’s owls and can be found in many parts of Australia from northern Australia, Queensland, through NSW and southern Victoria and parts of South Australia and Western Australia. Its preferred habitats include woodlands and forests.
The bird I’ve featured on this post is a captive one at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. It is featured in their very popular Free Flight Bird Show. This show, a major draw-card at the zoo twice daily at noon and 3pm, it always a highlight when we visit. It is also a great opportunity to take photos of birds close up.
When we go to Sydney to visit family, we always try to fit in a visit to the wonderful Taronga Zoo. I would recommend this world-class zoo to all visitors to the city. Set aside a whole day as the collections of birds and animals are extensive.
As a part of your visit schedule in one of the Free Flight Bird Shows. These are held daily at 12 noon and 3pm. The keepers give a running commentary while free flying birds from the zoo’s collection do various tricks and displays. On this post I have featured a Barn Owl, a well-known Australian bird found throughout much of Australia. In the photo above the owl is rewarded with a morsel of food hidden behind the rock in the photo. Its signal to “capture” its prey was the recorded call of a frog from a speaker hidden in the rock.