Just stop doing that, will ya?


p2341-eagle-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
“I hear that both boy and eagle are well, which I’m happy about,” says Stephen Schwer, CEO of Tourism Central Australia, who took time off on the weekend from restoring his backyard veggie garden after the hail to respond to our request for comment.
The eagle concerned is the star performer at the Desert Park and the boy, well, he’s the kid who probably irritated the majestic bird (and probably people in the audience) by pulling his jacket zipper up and down repeatedly.
At least so goes speculation published in – no less – the National Geographic where this photo appeared.
The story took the best part of a week to catch on – the “attack” occurred on July 6 – but when it did, the Instagram snap by Christine O’Connell went viral.
In the flood of reporting it was suggested the lad was about to be carried aloft by the wedge-tailed eagle, suggesting a similarity with the Azaria saga.
On the principle that in show business, it doesn’t matter what they say so long as they spell the name right, the event is probably in the category of global advertising you couldn’t buy.
As for Mr Schwer, he says “it’s a shame that some media outlets have chosen to sensationalise what essentially seems to be a naturally inquisitive bird getting a closer look at something that caught its attention and inadvertently gave a boy minor injuries in the process.
“Customers are discerning. They know whilst this is captivating footage and imagery, that this kind of thing happens extremely rarely and doesn’t reflect common occurrence at these types of shows.”
Here in the bush we take these things in our stride, of course, and Mr Schwer went back to gardening.


  1. Many years ago I visited the Alice Springs Desert Park with a niece, and we watched the Birds of Prey performance.
    At one point during the show a dead rabbit was tossed into the middle of the ground which was pounced upon by a wedge-tailed eagle. As we all watched, I noticed from the side of where the audience was seated a large perentie emerge into view.
    Suddenly the huge goanna reared up on its hind legs and charged straight towards the eagle.
    The startled bird immediately took flight and headed for refuge – its handler!
    The perentie latched onto its prize and happily carted away the dead rabbit for its lunch. This was the first occasion that such an event occurred at that show.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Alex.
    I am so glad that apparently neither the kid nor the eagle was hurt. It’s a great show, enjoyed by so many visitors to the Desert Park. It would be a shame to see it killed off.
    Many years ago I was on a bus coming down out of the mountains in western China when I noticed a tribesman (Tadjik? Kirghiz?) sitting on his horse just to the side and just above the road.
    His arm was resting on a pole stuck into his stirrup something like is used to carry a flag in processions, and on his wrist rested a hooded eagle. I had read about this and was thrilled to actually see it.
    And now, let the show go on.

  3. The whitewash is a little thin and Alice is not really “in the bush”.
    All persons need to remember these birds, like all meat eaters, are not house pets and while they can be conditioned to perform some routines they are still wild.


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