Saturday 1462 – 21st July 2012.
Last Saturday I brought you a taste of Tango as I celebrated my daughter’s birthday ( it was in December!) by taking her to see a show called Midnight Tango and you can read that post here if you haven’t seen it.
This Saturday it was the turn of my son but at least his birthday is near his celebration as it’s not until Monday. My gift to him ( and to me of course 😉 )took place at the Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre and you can read about this great place here
It was a 2 hr session ( which turned out to be 2 1/2) doing this – to quote from the website
2 Hour Hawk or Owl Experience
An experience you will never forget
On arrival at the centre we invite you to choose a bird of prey to spend time with during your visit.
To start off you are given the chance to sit with your bird for a while during a short talk on your chosen species, then receive a demonstration on how to carry the bird on your fist.
Once you are comfortable with holding the bird YOU will walk with the bird on your fist around our 42 acre centre. The beautiful woodland setting plays host to an abundance of wildlife which you can enjoy during your walk.
Sit for a while in the Flying Field and listen to a more in-depth talk on the history of falconry. Then carry on around the route back towards the reception area to sit with your bird for a while before they are returned to their blocks.
You will then be given the chance to witness a display of one of these beautiful birds in flight.
On completion of the experience we will allow you time to look around the rest of the centre and the wide variety of birds of prey that live here
Very enjoyable experience indeed and I’d recommend it to you. Here are a few photos from the day.
This first one is of the very inspirational Chris Lawton who runs the centre and talks with real passion about his mission to give Birds of Prey a safe, enjoyable life in a natural habitat. Many of the birds have been rescued but they do also breed at the centre.
First thing he talks about is respect for the birds.. I liked him 🙂
You get to choose whether you’d like to walk with an owl or a hawk.
I chose this little barn owl called Mr Pip such a beautiful bird
and my son chose this magnificent falcon ( hope I’ve got that right! )
He doesn’t look too sure does he? My son that is.. don’t blame him just look at the beak !
We walked through the woods each carrying our birds on our hand protected by a VERY thick leather glove and you can see why if you look at the 1st picture of the falcon.. lethal talons ! When we got to the flying field we all sat at tables resting our arms ! while Chris talked to us about each of the different birds and the work of the centre which includes rescuing rare big cats ( you can read about this if you follow the link to the centre near the top of this post ) and here’s my son and his bird listening intently as well as a few of the other people in the group
They didn’t always sit so quietly though as my son discovered
This is what my little owl did while the talk was taking place sitting in a lovely warm sun. He wasn’t used to the heat either !
After the talk we made our way back through the woods, gave our birds back then headed to the flying field again where we were each given the opportunity to have a magnificent large owl fly to us. It was the one you can see in the top picture. A great experience!. You stand sort of sideways with your back to the bird, gloved hand outstretched with food held between you fingers, looking over your shoulder as the bird flies towards you, getting bigger and bigger; it’s beady eyes focused only on the food.
Plenty of opportunity after each flight for the obligatory memory photos 😉
I think the funniest photos of the day were taken by my son with my camera when it was my turn to have the owl fly to me. As the Owl landed it swept its wing down my face. Not THE most flattering of photos son but very well captured !! and a reminder of a rather exhilarating feeling.
You always feel like the birds are really in charge and I like that. If you haven’t had an opportunity to do this and you get one I’d say take it !
You can see some other posts of mine from a different Bird Of Prey Centre here
That’s me done for this week.. though I’m sure at some point there may be a few more photos posted on my other blog Photomania which you can find here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.