THE LAST WORD...
WITH DON HANY, HEALING’S VIKTOR KHADEM
They do have a flick switch where they go, Stuff this mate, I’m not doing it’
“I THINK we were always on that precipice of asking too much of the birds (of prey) we were working with on this.
They do have a flick switch where they go, ‘Stuff this mate, I’m not doing it’. There were three birds we were working with: Stella, Grace and Bart, who was the young male.
Stella and Gracie were the two females, Gracie being the older of the two. Stella was incredibly ferocious and you don’t want to get in her way.
I did most of my bird handling with Gracie. She was about 24, which is in the twilight years for a bird, and she was really calm.
She’d been hit by a car or something and was really sooky and had what they called ‘imprinted’ herself … she didn’t realise she was an eagle anymore; she thinks she’s another human.
She made sounds like a seagull and didn’t sound at all threatening.
We were doing the extras for the DVD and I managed to do the whole thing with Gracie sitting on my arm, very calm.
Then as we were walking back and there were a couple more questions but then a gust of wind took us by surprise and she tried to reposition on my glove and failing to find any glove to stand on … she started flapping uncontrollably looking for something to stand on and yeah, she found the side of my face to hold on to.
It gashed underneath my right eye and we were on the other side of set, so I had to go through set to get out to go to a hospital.
So I had to walk past the set with this blood pouring off my face and people were like, ‘What’s happened? Oh god, oh god, oh god …’ because we still had two weeks to shoot.
There was all this mayhem for absolutely no reason because once they tidied me up you couldn’t really notice it and the make-up covered it up.
I think we get away with it in this, but I got a great scar out of it.”
HEALING SUNDAY, 9.25PM, ABC
With Holly Byrnes