In October I went down to Market Harborough for a Birds of Prey workshop with Andrew and Jon. I had been on one before, 2 years ago, but it’s always good to make the most of opportunities to pick their brains and spend time with these magnificent birds. I drove down on Friday and 10am on Saturday we all met up at the Bird on the Hand Centre where we were met by the falconers (another) Andrew and his son Duncan.
First it was Elvis, a Eurasean/European Eagle Owl. As the name implies, they are found in Europe and Asia. There have been a few breeding pairs found in Scotland and northern England but they are thought to have escaped from captivity as they haven’t been here for many hundreds of years. It is one of the largest owls with large females weighing up to 10 lbs and a wingspan of 6 feet. Like all birds of prey the males are smaller. Colours can vary but they all have the magnificent distinctive orange eyes and ear tufts. A magnificent bird.
Andrew built a small wall the night before and it certainly worked well at its first trial.
This is Andrew, the falconer, with Priscilla a gorgeous Siberian Eagle Owl.
When she gets stressed, she fluffs herself up to make herself look as large and as threatening as possible. This means she also shows her lovely frilly pantaloons. Priscilla wasn’t actually scared, Duncan brought his dog into view and she was very carefully monitored to ensure she wasn’t stressed, she was merely curious and after a few minutes she was totally ignoring the dog and listening to the nearby traffic!
Here isDuncan with the dog watching Priscilla to make sure she is not stressed.
And here’s Andrew with him – he clearly loves both feathers and fur.
I first met Juliet the barn owl 2 years ago when she was just 6 weeks old. What a beauty she is now.
We then tried some birds in flight. Our first attempt was with Buzz, a 5 month old Harris Hawk. My goodness, he’s quick and this was a challenge.
We also had a wonderful time trying to capture Juliet in flight – trying being the operative word. I need to go back and get some more practise.
First through the woods
Then as she hovered before swooping on her “prey”
But I think my favourite was when she decided she had had enough and “did her own thing”
Now it was time for lunch. If you are still with me, well done and thanks for reading.
I have also written this as a tech numpty to see how easy or what issues I might come across. It’s fairly straightforward and I think once you see AJ’s video it will be plain sailing and happy blogging.