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    • CommentTimeJun 4th, 2010 10:01pm (Jun 4th 2010)

    I have had the most amazing day today! As most of you know, hubby bought me a bird experience day at the Falconry Centre in Hagley, West Mids.

    We got there early so had a look around for 20mins. There were 6 of us taking part, each with an observer (friend with a camera!) Hubby took over 200 photos so when I've been through them I'll post a couple.

    It started with a tour of the centre. John who runs it introduced several of the birds, explained what type of bird it was, a little about the breed, and something about that particular bird. (There are over 70 and he knows each one individually and completely). There was everything from a tiny american kestral (Thomas) to a HUGE vulture (Feathers).

    Then we went to the central area and each bird he got out would fly to each person (to take some food) and back to wherever it preferred. I lost count of how many birds we got up close to - will have to check out the photos! The heat was a bit of a problem because the birds got hot and tired very quickly. He flew a hawk up and over the trees and called it back in for the lure.

    We had lunch, then we went into the vulture's enclosure. After that we took a Harris Hawk out to the woods and flew it through the trees. I can't explain how amazing it is to see it swooping between the trees. Then back to the centre, and he flew a male and female Bateleur, that eat mainly snakes and lizards. They were quite big and had great personalities. The male was called Dave because the owner's wife said everyone should have a friend called Dave!

    They do a little bit of breeding - the snowy owls have laid 8 eggs. Each one is laid 3 days after the previous one and they are fully grown in I think he said 12 weeks. What they will do is ring the eldest chick and take the other 7 away to be hand reared. The parents will raise the remaining one. I thought it seemed harsh, but he said they need to be hand reared to be handleable. All the birds at the centre are captive bred (they have DNA on all of them as proof).

    It really was an amazing day and well worth every penny. They are one of (if not the) cheapest but you get so much for your money I would highly recommend it.
    • CommentTimeJun 4th, 2010 10:02pm (Jun 4th 2010)
    All that writing and I forgot something! They are thinking of breeding another pair of birds (can't remember which) and are considering putting cameras in. I told him to see if he could put the live feed on the internet as people love that sort of thing (don't we!!!!!!!)
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 12:45am (Jun 5th 2010)

    Keeper of the hens

    That sounds like it was a really great day, Kate! Can't wait to see some pics :001_smile:
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 7:33am (Jun 5th 2010)
    Excellent Kate glad you had a nice day :bigsmile:
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 4:26pm (Jun 5th 2010)
    Sounds brilliant, glad it lived up to your expectations!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 8:13pm (Jun 5th 2010)
    What an amazing day out Kate I am so glad you had such a lovely time and experience. It is a day you will never forget, I really enjoyed reading all about it and now I can not wait to see the pictures. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 10:30pm (Jun 5th 2010) edited
    I have soooo many pictures I'm having trouble deciding which to post without going over the top!!! Lets start with the only one you're getting of me with a bird ... this is a Harris Hawk.
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 10:34pm (Jun 5th 2010)
    This is Thomas, the smallest bird we flew. He's an American Kestrel.
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 10:49pm (Jun 5th 2010)
    The American Kestrel is just so beautiful!
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 11:01pm (Jun 5th 2010) edited
    The Caracara - a 'scavenger' from the Falkland Islands. Brilliant personality - he walks back to his aviary (mews) with the handler!
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 11:06pm (Jun 5th 2010) edited
    Here is an owl at full stretch, and Dave, the biggest bird we flew.
    • CommentTimeJun 5th, 2010 11:20pm (Jun 5th 2010)
    Yes, Tom was lovely Ollie. It was like having a very pretty garden bird sitting on my hand! The caracara was very funny - in front of it in the photo is a stone. There were 4 of them laid out and he ran to each one and turned it over to find his food. Apparently the Falkland islanders hate them because they fly into houses and raid them. Joh, the owner, said he met a helicopter pilot who said he had once stepped out of his helicopter to get something and left his sandwich box down by the seat. In a few seconds a caracara was in there and stole his food!
    • CommentAuthorTrevs Mum
    • CommentTimeJun 6th, 2010 8:43am (Jun 6th 2010)
    What a truly lovely experience Kate. Great pics.
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeJun 6th, 2010 1:51pm (Jun 6th 2010)
    Wonderful pics, wonderful experience...lucky girl!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeJun 6th, 2010 8:18pm (Jun 6th 2010)
    Lovely, lovely pictures Kate and I loved the story about the caracara bird. What a lovely picture of him trundling back through the gate it just oozes attitude !!! go on be a devil and post a few more pic's !!!!
    • CommentTimeJun 6th, 2010 9:59pm (Jun 6th 2010)
    I've got to resize them first - I think hubby must've changed the settings on the camera because the photos suddenly got big!
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeJun 7th, 2010 7:15pm (Jun 7th 2010)
    Kate there great photo,s I am very Jealous of your day out i want to do one now!!!!!!!!
    • CommentTimeJun 7th, 2010 10:52pm (Jun 7th 2010)
    It was well worth it Lee. I would happily do it again. Its not far from J4 of the M5 - cheapest around but I'd say the best! You should go!
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeJun 8th, 2010 7:30am (Jun 8th 2010)
    I might do the half day one Kate we are planning a trip to Coventry this year at some stage (my home town)I could tie it in with that.
    • CommentTimeJun 8th, 2010 10:28pm (Jun 8th 2010)
    Are you visiting family in Cov? My friend lives there and says its changed a lot.

    The half day would be good, except you really won't want to leave after the half day! The afternoon is when you go for a walk up to the woods to fly one, then back to the centre to fly the bigger birds. Sometimes they get the vulture or eagles out! There is also the evening one where they fly owls - you could do Cov in the day and then birdies on the way home!
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeJun 9th, 2010 7:31am (Jun 9th 2010)
    All my family have now moved away from Cov we have just a couple of friends left there.