This weekend we went to visit Eagle Heights, where we saw some amazing birds!
We had a look at some of them sat inside first, though they all do get to go out and fly every day. The birds have been rescued from places, hand reared for captive breeding programmes or come from other places where they could not be kept any longer. I'll just list them with their names, and then get to the photos of them flying outdoors...
A Martial Eagle:
An African Fish Eagle:
A Crowned Eagle:
A Bald Eagle (not because it's bald, but because it's black and white, or 'piebald'):
A Hooded Vulture:
A Bateleur Eagle:
A pair of White Tailed Sea Eagles (which can be found in the UK):
OK, so moving on to the outdoors display, where we were introduced to four birds and heard a bit about their history and how they live in the wild and in captivity.
First up was a Bald Eagle:
A large and powerful bird, and this one was completely tame.
But as soon as she was let go, she still wanted to stretch her wings first:
before watching from the distance for a minute:
But it wasn't long before she came swooping back...
...tempted by some food in a pond:
She then showed how tame she was by progressing through the audience!
Here's a short video...
After her came a hybrid falcon, part Peregrine and part something else - apparently these hybrids are often bred for commercial pigeon control, but this one had decided it couldn't be bothered hunting pigeons, so had come to live at Eagle Heights instead:
The handler showed us the falcon's skills by whirling round a rope with some food on the end of it - the falcon shot back and forth at about 60mph to try and catch it, and cut between people in the audience, clipping them with its feathers!
Eventually it got its target, and tucked into the food while sat on the handler's glove:
After that we had a Barn Owl, which was able to fly around incredibly quietly and slowly - ideal for spotting the small prey they hunt in the wild:
Last of was a Vulture, the same one we'd seen sat indoors earlier:
A very impressive bird when soaring around over us:
Though he did disappear down the hill after that, and waited in a field to be collected, due to laziness. Apparently he used to live in Tenerife, and would repeatedly fly from the top of the mountain down to the bottom and wait to be picked up - one time a bus driver recognised him and gave him a lift back up!
Anyway, as you can see, Eagle Heights is well worth a visit, but make sure you are there to catch one or more of the displays.