Shake your tail feathers: Rain-dancing brolga Barry likes a boogie with his human mum

On any ordinary day, Barry the brolga follows his rescuers around their outback Queensland property, loiters outside the house and supervises what's happening in the shed.

Occasionally, he features on the national news for his signature rain dance when the outskirts of Blackall receive decent falls.

It's a leisurely lifestyle for a brolga.

But just over a year ago Barry was spotted "being eaten alive" by black ants.   

"We thought, 'Oh, this is so so cruel', the mum and dad couldn't do anything about it," Diane Hauff said.

Only one of the two rescued brolga chicks survived. (Supplied: Diane Hauff)

Ms Hauff took the chick home to wash off the ants and then delivered him back to his brolga parents.

"They sort of went around him for around half an hour and they seemed to be saying, 'Nope, don't want him'.

"They left and I thought, 'Oh well, looks like I've got to take you home and try and make you live'."

The rain gauge always needs a check after a good downpour. (Supplied: Diane Hauff)'Always following us'

The family have raised the brolga back into good health and he now "looks like any other brolga".

Ms Hauff says Barry is a cherished family member, even if he gets an attitude every now and again.

"Whatever we are doing, he's there to help us," she said.

Barry occasionally helps out in the shed. (Supplied: Diane Hauff)

"My husband had to check the fence after a mad storm, big trees over the fence, and, of course, I go down there and Barry is helping him.

"He gets a bit cranky with me at times. I was away for a week and when I came back he was not impressed with mum, he was sort of pecking at me and so forth, but by a couple of hours he loves me again."

The pair celebrate wet weather together with a rain dance.

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Diane and Barry going for a run.(Supplied: Diane Hauff)

"You know how exciting it is, whether it's 5mm or 50mm, so we go out there and do rain dances and jump for joy," Ms Hauff said.

"The wings come up and down, he swings around, and then he throws his wings up in the air.

"People might think I'm crazy, but I love every bit of it."

Diane and her mate pose for a selfie.(Supplied: Diane Hauff)Name change to Barrietta or Barry-ina?

The family assumed Barry was male when they rescued him, but as he was never sexed by the vet, they are prepared for a name change if required.

"I've been saying for a while that Barry may become Barrietta or Barry-ina," Ms Hauff said.

"I went out to make the morning coffee and there's another brolga with him. I think we did have a male brolga around.

"Anything could happen."

A potential companion dances with Barry.(Supplied: Diane Hauff)

Ms Hauff says she hopes Barry doesn't forget his human mum.

"I'd like him to go out into the wild and mate and have chicks and so forth," she said.

"I'd be devastated if he flies away and never ever comes back.

"One day I might be excited if he flies back with a little chick in tow — who would know?"


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