Monday, 6 August 2012

Hawk Conservancy, Andover

It was my friend Yvonne's 40th birthday this year, and I decided that a day out playing with birds of prey would be a lovely way to celebrate.

For my brother I.'s 50th, we bought him a day out hunting with a Harris hawk, accompanied by our elder brother.   I didn't think Yvonne would be too happy about the whole hunting thing, so I went for a day at the Hawk Conservancy.

What a fantastic place.  There was so much to see, we bolted our lunch so we could go and have a look around.     I'll definitely go back and take a more leisurely look around.

As for the day,  it was fantastic.  Our guide was very friendly and knowledgeable.  We had a small group (with one irrititating chap who had done this once before somewhere else, and he insisted on going on and on and on about how the other place was better, the birds were bigger, there were only two of them so he flew more birds, and how he gave a demonstration at the end and a bird attacked him. ).

We flew so many birds: gorgeous shy vultures, owls, hawks, falcons...  And the weather was superb.

We started off with a couple of vultures, who are really sweet and gentle creatures.  They perform an incredible feat of nature: nt only do they clear carcases, but they can clear diseased carcasses (ones where the disease is fatal to man).   In the wild many species are facing extinction, mostly from a derivative of Voltarol which is given to cattle.    It's sad that vultures can consume anthrax and a whole other host of natural nasties and render them safe,  but die within hours of consuming a carcass where the animal has ingested Voltarol. It's criminal, and should be outlawed.

It was so hot that I had to go to the car and get a hat.



At the final session, we were all able to fly Harris Hawks, taking it in turns to send a Hawk off then someone else had to call it back.

Definitely recommend the experience!

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