Flo, our Crested Caracara, is a beautiful and intelligent bird who continues to grow in confidence. As a usual member of our winter displays team, due to a longer closed period due to COVID-19 lockdown, Flo hasn’t seen many guests in her most recent flying season so we caught up with Katy Barnes who is currently working with her to find out more about what they’ve been up to:
“Flo was the first bird I ever worked with at the Trust and I’m so pleased to be back working with her again. She has a really lovely, gentle character and, as she’s so brainy, she takes to learning new things really well. I love working alongside her and it’s so fun to see how clever she is!
Usually, in the winter team she stars in our World of Birds of Prey display, alongside Chips and Pike (Black Vultures) and Tebenwick (Turkey Vulture). When the full team come out, it’s a full arena with them all flying or running around, and it is so fantastic as they all mix together. Flo is definitely boss of the group though! She likes to take her time and it’s brilliant to watch her parade across the arena with her dainty strut. Amidst the action, it’s great when Flo shows off her intelligence and to demonstrate the different foraging techniques of this species, we provide things like Emu eggs and coconut shells for Flo to find and turn over, locating a tasty treat beneath.
I’ve been looking after Flo since January this year. As is typical to Crested Caracaras, she’s very comfortable moving around on the ground. These birds spend much time foraging and hunting on the ground in the wild but they will take flights low over the ground and up to high perches to search for food. As part of Flo’s care and exercise, I have been encouraging her to take to the air a little more and show off her beautiful flying. She’s doing really well and is flying for a longer period around the arena, before coming in to land. I’m using a variety of techniques including hand signals and other body language. She’s such an intelligent bird and so it’s important that we continue to keep her mentally stimulated as well as providing physical exercise.
I’ll continue working with her this summer and hope to demonstrate this natural behaviour when it comes to the winter season and she re-joins the displays team. In the meantime, if you’d like to see Flo on your next visit, she lives in an aviary alongside Sirius the Striated Caracara and Cavalli the Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, just next to the rose arch.”