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Birds of prey fly-past

18 Aug 2009 / in natural world, travels

We were treated to a wonderful display of flying by birds of prey at the Yorkshire Dales Falconry & Conservation Centre on Sunday.

The bateleur is an extraordinarily bird, twisting and turning in flight as if to show off its striking colouring. I was very impressed with its white underwings, presumably gives it some camouflage against a bright sky.

This is Wesley, the huge white-headed vulture who for some reason didn’t like his handler and tried to pull strips of flesh off his arm with his beak.

Wesley was quite a character and soared effortless around us in the stiff breeze.

I was delighted to have a barn owl fly to my glove. These birds are insanely pretty with gorgeous pale yellow spotted feathers and so soft to touch. The nemesis of the vole.

My stepson, Callan, was reluctant at first to take the chance of having a barn owl fly to him. But after seeing me and some of the other children do it, he had a go. He later admitted what a thrill it was.

Cal was also very taken with the speed and agility of the harris hawk. She flew with precision and great speed between us, inches from our heads.

Eddie the eagle owl was my favourite bird of all.

Huge, with glorious abundant plumage, endearing ear tufts and eyes that glow like hot lava this bird was magnificent.

This saker falcon was flown to a lure; the handler spun some meat on the end of a rope and the falcon came in repeatedly to try to capture its prey.

It was so fast that Moth was unable to take a satisfactory picture to show this, so you’ll have to take my word for it that to have a bird shoot inches past your head at 120mph is simply amazing.

Photos: Moth Clark

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