Impressive Scarlet Macaw flying spectacle
Over the last couple of months Keeper Leanne Gilbert has taken a major part in training 13 Scarlet Macaws ready to join our free flying show at Paradise Park this summer. Which will make for a stunning display when we re-open.
Six of them already have well developed skills as they were trained last year but now another seven have joined the group creating an impressive spectacle!
All the new recruits were reared by our breeding pair, female ‘Aloysius’ and her mate ‘Zorro’ who can be seen in their Parrot Jungle aviary.
Leanne’s first task is to train each bird to ‘step up’ onto her hand, then be weighed on scales fitted with a perch, then get them to feel relaxed when going into and coming out of a travelling box, and then they start to actually fly free! At first it’s just short flights near their aviary, back and forth between keepers. This is repeated many times with encouragement for this new experience with the vocal reward ‘gooood’, and a food treat of a sunflower seed or half almond. Gradually the distance is extended, all the time building up confidence and fitness.
Leanne comments ‘I had five of the new Scarlet Macaws flying free within 2 weeks with some delay on the other 2 due to the bad weather we’ve had. I was really pleased the first time I had all 13 of them out flying free, so proud of them all flying and returning to their aviary. It’s so good to see how they have built up their fitness and be ready for when the shows start!
The Keepers decided on a theme for the macaws’ names, so we have Haribo, Candy, Calipo, Dotty, Truffles, Skittles, Sherbert, Shrimp, Rhubarb, Custard, Polo, Malteser and Bounty – and Leanne can tell every one apart.
Please come and see them fly free at Paradise Park this summer!