At first glance, a shoebill doesn’t look like a really friendly animal. With its long legs and wide wingspans, some people might find the bird terrifying.
Futaba-chan isn’t like most shoebills.
A resident of the Kakegawa Kachouen or the Kakegawa Flower and Bird Garden, the massive bird knows how to make friends. She’s courteous and quite respectful, too.
A viral video shows the shoebill paying respect to her caretaker.
In the footage, you’ll see Futaba-chan waiting patiently on one side of her enclosure. Birds of her kind have this weird ability to stay perfectly still. If you aren’t familiar with them, you might find the behavior quite unsettling.
Then, a male caretaker came into the frame.
Right after seeing the man, Futaba started shaking her head as if she’s bowing to him. Surprisingly, the man did the same thing. It seemed like they use that action to greet each other.
As the man walked to the other side of the enclosure, Futaba followed him.
She moved her long but thin legs with grace. It was like she was dancing towards her caretaker and it was amusing to watch.
Futaba seemed to share a special bond with her caretaker.
She just couldn’t stop greeting the man. In fact, as soon as he kneeled in front of the bird, she started bowing again. Their heads even touched as if they’re celebrating their bond.
After the man finished feeding Futaba, he gave her water and cleaned her enclosure.
The bird looked like she understood what was happening. As the man was doing his work, she made sure to bow a couple of times to him. It was probably her way of showing her gratitude.
Futaba’s video has earned nearly 4 million views.
Most of the people who’ve watched the footage were touched by the pair’s friendship.
One of them said:
“This is the most amazing bird I’ve never seen before. So beautiful. How rare are they. This is not a stupid animal, look how it watches him and then when they look at each other she isn’t just staring at him she is really paying attention to what he is doing. Please get her a second one of these amazing animals so she isn’t all alone.”
Another one said:
“What a beautiful relationship between keeper and bird, the communication between them is so graceful and sweet. It brings a calmness to watch, I’m so impressed with that young man, he has great respect for the bird. Very beautiful to witness”
Futaba’s kind is critically endangered.
Based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, about 3,300 to 5,300 adult shoebills exist in the world. That number continues to go down as they lose their habitat.
Plus, the birds are hunted as food in some areas. Other people hunt them down because they think they bring bad luck.
Hopefully, people can find a way to make sure shoebills continue to survive. The process will definitely not be easy but if humans do their part, it can certainly happen.
Watch the heartwarming encounter between Futaba and her caretaker below!
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.