Since they were introduced to you last August, our magpie geese have grown to almost full size – with big personalities to match. They’ve been busy with their trainer, Selina Reid, who’s preparing them for their future in the Living Wetlands Theatre.

Much of their early training is focused on foundation behaviours, such as crate training and recall, which will pave the way for their free flight training. It is important that all the birds destined for the Living Wetlands Theatre have a positive association with their home and caregivers at the centre, so all training is based on positive reinforcement. The magpie geese’s favourite foods are mealworms and broccoli, but they also enjoy training for toys – they love to play with a scrubbing brush or a set of keys!

Our trio of females were named by Selina’s daughter last summer. Livvy, Lucy and Laura are proving to be a hit with members of the WWT team. Being a slow-maturing species with a life expectancy of up to 30 years, the girls are in their ‘toddler’ phase, making them an enthralling combination of cheeky and charming!

Another important part of their training at the moment is socialisation and desensitisation, in preparation for busy days in the Living Wetlands Theatre. We’ve invited Slimbridge staff to meet the girls, along with the other Theatre birds, and they have enjoyed having their shoelaces untied and their coat zips nibbled by the inquisitive geese. Have a look at the video which shows some of the exciting things our magpie geese have been up to recently.

Over the coming months, training will continue towards the group’s first free flight, which will happen later this year, so be sure to check in regularly to see the next update on these charismatic birds!