Birds take flight at the Brandywine Zoo

By Amy Cherry 5:34pm, June 19, 2013 - Updated 5:49pm, June 19, 2013
See the birds in flight.
See rare, exotic birds in flight in a special show this week at the Brandywine Zoo.

WDEL's Amy Cherry had a close encounter of the bird kind.

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Watch a parrot fly right over your head or a turkey vulture spread its enormous wingspan and soak up some sun.

"If the public and kids can enjoy the birds, that's the first start."

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That's one goal of the free-flight Birds in Action Show, that was started by Phung Luu, Director of Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections in Dover.

No where else in the area where kids and adults can see these kinds of birds up close.

"Either landing on a kid's hand or have them fly right over the top of their heads. It's that connection that we aim to achieve," says Luu.

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Luu says training the birds to be superstars is both tedious and funs to be superstars is both tedious and funs.

"It's an investment of time and energy and patience. We spent a lot of times with the birds and we use positive reinforcement to change behaviors," says Luu, who doesn't pet the birds, so they still feel as though they're in the wild.

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Luu says the intimate nature of the Brandywine Zoo makes it perfect for Birds in Flight. The show was seamless on its first day with each macaw and owl getting their chance to shine in the spotlight, but when dealing with wildlife, there are no guarantees.

"We don't have control over these birds 100 percent," he laughs, "So they're free to take off and fly around if they'd like, but they always come back," says Luu.

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The show lasts through next Tuesday and will be back at the Brandywine Zoo for one week in July and August.

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