Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Towlersonsafari

So How Big is an Eagle? A Day pretending to be a Falconer

22 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I don't know if this is of any interest, but Jane, my rather wonderful wife, got me a day out as a "Falconer" at the Gauntlet Birds of Prey Centre near Knutsford as a Christmas prezzy and last Sunday a friend of mine ,Parky, and I went to see just how big a White Tailed Eagle looked rather close up.Falconry is of course a Field Sport, as we politly say in England but there is no doubt that without falconry techniques a lot of re-introduction schemes for raptors would not of got off the ground, and some species-such as the Mauritius Falcon, would not be hear now. Jane had arranged for the Eagle experience which was a day out etting close to various birds building up to holding a flying several Eagles.

I say pretending to be a falconer.Off course falconry is a time consuming labour of love, bonding with a bird, finding out its personality and its ideal flying weight.We would be learning to hold the birds on the glove and flying some of them.It was all very exciting!

 

 

Edited by Towlersonsafari
incompetence
7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So we started off learning to pick a pair of obliging Haris Hawks up, how to hold them and we walked around the centre, getting used to the holding birds of prey.Then back to the indoor room to get used to the idea of birds flying to the fist, with the help of this glamourous Horned Owl.9F5A3880.thumb.jpg.3ad619d1f193ce2f28ea7bb68ddaab98.jpg9F5A3885.thumb.jpg.5ef76a906e264f235dadbfba4ea10d8b.jpg

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

9F5A3936.thumb.jpg.3aa5cbca1fd151867572219c11d11e1e.jpgThen out into the field! and flying-not very far-this fine bird-and I am ashamed to admit not a species I had herad of.This one was 9F5A3927.thumb.jpg.96ed041dfc89368698c11cac61a1fca3.jpgonly in its second year9F5A3920.thumb.jpg.d98e98487f818297f6a0f2a34b636fae.jpg

Edited by Towlersonsafari
stupidity!
8 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

By the way Parky is the large 6' tall genteleman and I'm the other one.I can't resist including a couple of shots from the displays.The last display-there were 2 during the day-ended with about 15 birds in the air at the same time, Black Kites,White Storks, and 3 Marabou Storks!

Here is a Dishmop9F5A3989.thumb.jpg.3c1836e47b3c3706fee0315e191b73b5.jpg9F5A3985.thumb.jpg.15ae091a38ba8d36923896394decbdf7.jpg9F5A4003.thumb.jpg.1eb9e6c19592dc6e08b8e386fd9089b8.jpg

 

Edited by Towlersonsafari
9 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Towlersonsafari I haven't done the Eagle Experience at Gauntlet but I have done the half day visit twice and we flew a range of birds and raptors from kestrels, owls, vultures and Harris hawks. We did get to hold an Eagle Owl, fly the vultures and walk through the Cheshire countryside flying the Harris Hawks. On one occaision we were able to hold Vega, a rather diva-ish white tailed fish eagle - I say hold, what I really mean is balance my hand on a fence post and have Vega stand on my quivering arm being held up by the fence post. It's a fabulous experience and the centre does a lot of Vulture conservation in both Africa and Asia. I bet you had an awesome day....maybe you should treat Jane this Christmas. 

 

I think the owl knows she hasn't done this before...

 

IMG_0458.thumb.JPG.ad713926569ec40d05191700b2483c0e.JPG

 

Landing a vulture with closed eyes is quite a skill.

 

IMG_0469.thumb.JPG.13dec7a49f8d0666b8977ff2a84ce89d.JPG

 

Walking a hawk....

 

IMG_0485.thumb.JPG.8276038e28e9b48690772b70f5be8317.JPG

 

I'm not THAT terrified, just mildly concerned

 

IMG_0488.thumb.JPG.b6f9748f11f54e33835a93ea7ed5eda2.JPG

7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And a splendid striated CaraCara playing with a rubber egg, followd by a close uo Vereaux Eagle Owl and a Griffo9F5A3972.thumb.jpg.91d3306ab539d2d29c0670edd2dee681.jpg9F5A4161.thumb.jpg.3fc6593c77d78d68e17ffcee4a9b839c.jpg9F5A4173.thumb.jpg.266946b4492982a5680ee3f80191ff4e.jpgn Vulture

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Towlersonsafari Fabulous photos!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How wonderful @ld1  you are right it is great fun and they do do conservation work in Asia and Southern Africa-and I love your photos When I say holding the Eagles, the falconer very kindly supported my arm as the birds landed and then whilst I held them-I have arthritic weedy arms so there was no way I could hold either of the egles we "flew"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After lunch we had a bonus.They have a raven which is at presnt too naughty to fly outside-it keeps wanting to pretend its a falcon.It also stores food in its crop till night when a pair of wild ravens visit and gives them the food.The falconers  said it was by far the most intelligent bird they have (althouth the Black vultures were also rated highly intelligent) and they keep having to change how the tie the jesses.It also likes stealing the glasses from one particular falconer

9F5A4124.thumb.jpg.59c3faa1ebbd3cbb40d3cdaaf6dfe478.jpg9F5A4127.thumb.jpg.d9262f109421739684115c3c3504a457.jpg

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then as  @ld1 mentioned we also went on a Harris Hawk walk.They could not be flown with other birds in a massed display as they were too agressive!

9F5A4035.thumb.jpg.c8354f8f10ede7b85b6141789cfeb57e.jpg9F5A4063.thumb.jpg.d3c9d76bf1102c6658d64e8c8f563869.jpg

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And so to the first Big Bird-a Bald Eagle a magnificent bird who made a real impact as she landed! Apaprently if she was sulking with Will the falconer, she woudl fly right into his chest, although with talons closed, so that's all right then.

9F5A4066.thumb.jpg.97743bea0ae3b7beee628349d7b95e66.jpg9F5A4089.thumb.jpg.8be647dad4b23c5926c5c51467de9e6c.jpg9F5A4117.thumb.jpg.050856a89c3ee4f7103a2b6f4f29fe8c.jpg

9F5A4113.jpg

8 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had hoped to fly my favourite-the Golden Eagle, but Sabastian-his name-was apparently "Off his meds" and so I had to be content to admire him from his perch

9F5A4029.thumb.jpg.7506b7c99fcc504c9e27c95510cd89ab.jpg

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

And now the finale, the last bird we flew, Pamela the adult-she was about 7, White Tailed Eagle.It was a real treat and privelege to get close to these birds, and the White Tailed Eagle was the icing on a very splended cake!

The first shot is me Trying to appear confident

9F5A4194.thumb.jpg.24f6856e6378fba0c041f1fb32a3da0f.jpg9F5A4203.thumb.jpg.bd9a6a00ebda45ae7a552523d377bd79.jpg9F5A4144.thumb.jpg.703737be7a5df900d35689eca108d430.jpg9F5A4232.thumb.jpg.868f598f461be3c12e94f94fecd875f6.jpg9F5A4215.thumb.jpg.5a305f5b4788df21499982190e4102fd.jpg9F5A4198.thumb.jpg.6a05d5800ce28a0b00d5d17356436fa4.jpg9F5A4204.thumb.jpg.d70c84a6f7d1470272fc47e9dd4a64c8.jpg9F5A4245.thumb.jpg.31ce1baa6da6c7c85510fd0b4e342282.jpg9F5A4249.thumb.jpg.29fa968d973c96a7c8544fddad6199f1.jpg9F5A4237.thumb.jpg.48c452f80a6a73929026ba61cf0b71f6.jpg

 

 

 

9F5A4208.jpg

9F5A4216.jpg

Edited by Towlersonsafari
8 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Towlersonsafariwhat a fabulous Christmas present and how interesting to see so many birds of prey. I enjoyed the story of the brainy raven, but please tell me, what is a dishmop?

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry @Treepol a dishmop is a hand mop to wash dishes_ the Great Grey Owl looked less like a fearsome killer and more like a well dishmop!

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Towlersonsafari What a fantastic experience. Seeing your images is sharp reminder of how large some of these birds are and how powerful their weaponry. I am not surprised you occasionally looked a bit anxious. 

Meeting a Golden Eagle 'off his meds' (love the expression) probably would have not been wise. But Pamela looks pretty impressive and a bit scary!

 

Thanks for telling us about it.

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A great experience. It makes me realise how big the White-tailed Eagle really is!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Incredible experience! Now you will want to go out and observe them in wild even more!

Edited by xelas
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oops, Vega was a Bald Eagle not a white tailed fish `Eagle. Pamela wasn't in action the last time I was there as she'd been out the day before, but I did find one of her feathers in the display field. At least our Falconer that day said it was Pamela's and they let me keep it.If I can find it in our office @Towlersonsafari would you like me to  send it to you as a momento? 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That would be very kind indeed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Towlersonsafari I found Pamela!

 

I'll PM you for details of where to send. 

 

IMG_2747.thumb.JPG.fb0f75454562b5cf902a3e488882fc92.JPG

 

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a marvelous experience!

I can see on your face that you enjoyed it at least half as much as I would have...:D

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.