Clearly I need to be getting up a little earlier on show days, because losing half an hour of prep in the morning is really throwing me off.
We have 37 guests coming to see the show today, all arriving at 10am. This means we need to have all the birds fed, watered and cleaned out a lot earlier than normal so there’s time to arrange tea and coffee for guests and get the birds to the stage. Today I’m inside again, and shadowing the girl called Jess, and frantically trying to remember what bowl goes where. Made worse by the fact that Jess has her own system and I’m now learning a slightly different way to do things from what I learned before. As such, I mostly stepped back and did gophering and fetching, and with the added people brought in today, everyone was done and getting into uniform with plenty of time to start bringing the birds to the stage.
As this was the first time I’d see the show, I was on door duty, and told to take a seat once the show began so I could see it (work perk, yay!).
Dail starts the show by explaining what she does here – over 75% of the birds in her care were either abandoned or rescued by here by owners who had no idea how much work a parrot could be. She’s one of the few places that will actually take in domesticated parrots, as many zoos refuse them outright and shelters can’t always care for them. The show is a way of showing people what the birds are capable of, as well as helping to generate money to help keep the sanctuary going.
The first half of the show is a demonstration of all the species of parrot currently at the sanctuary (with some missed out due to maternity leave, and some because they are most definitely not people friendly). This includes a brief hiatus where she also brings out a few of the young birds for people to see. Whoppa, one of the more talented and intelligent Eclectus is their daddy, and very proud of his ‘lil bubbas’. He even announced when they were hatching, much to Dail’s surprise since they weren’t meant to hatch for another few days.
The second half of the show is where the Alexandrian parrots take centre stage. In Dail’s opinion, Alexandrian’s are even smarter than the African Grey, supposedly the smartest of the parrot species. All of the tricks are performed by a small flock, including Pierre (who began the show when Dail realised the tricks he could do), and Kelele, an Alexandrian born at the sanctuary who, like 2 of his siblings, has a form of Autism. Not that this stops him from doing anything – in fact Dail thinks he might actually be a little smarter than the other Alexandrian’s.
Their tricks include a zip line, a fashion show, a shopping trip, puzzle solving and a gymnastick routine. Because there’s so many, some of the tricks involving multiple parrots take some time to complete, which does drag every now and then, and the parrots will sometimes decide they don’t want to do a trick at the last minute (and then start doing it midway through another trick just to be contrary!), but overall the parrots have a good time and everyone enjoyed the performance.
Afterwards, the guests head into the aviary and have a look at the birds not in the show, before heading out through the shop and allowing the workers to relax for the first time all day.
Next week I have the show day off. Not entirely sure what I’ll be doing with it, but I’ve got Monday and Tuesday so hopefully I’ll come up with something worthwhile.