Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Falconry Experience

As a person with some considerable interest in birds, wildlife and the countryside in general, I have never liked the idea of keeping birds in small cages, budgies, parrots etc, all that kind of thing. I originally had some misgivings about Game rearing, but on balance I could see the vast benefits to the rest of bird and wildlife due to relevant land owners keeping large areas of countryside fit for game rearing and shooting thereby providing amazing habitats for the rest nature.
However, I had not given much thought to Falconry before. I was aware of it and had seen some small displays at Country and Agricultural shows, but thats about it. I have for a long time also read Stacey's amazing blog on the subject.
http://afocusinthewild.com/category/falconry/

Recently my Wife and I were gifted two tickets by our younger Son and Daughter in Law to attend a Falconry Experience. I have to say that with some detachment we went along to see what the experience was all about. Both I and my Wife love to see Owls and we knew that we would be observing them at close quarters as well.

I must say that to see these magnificent birds of prey and be able to experience them flying too your gloved hand was quite something. All of these birds were hand reared and not taken from the wild, but of course they are still wild birds of prey and you were required to treat them with some healthy respect.

I have not reached a final conclusion on this matter, but one has to consider: 

Such birds in the wild have to fend for themselves, search for and obtain sufficient food and be able to survive the rigours of extreme winters. Many perish under normal experiences either through lack of food or accidents. This is in the main, the natural way of things. 
Some of course (in this Country) fall fowl to unscrupulous individuals that shoot or set poison bait in an effort to eradicate them.

These birds in captivity (using the term in its loosest sense) are well fed and well sheltered and live to the age that biologically they would be expected to, some as much as 25 to 30 years. In many respects they conduct a lot of similar activity that they would in the wild.

There may be fringe benefits to such pastimes. People see these birds, many for the first time in their lives and this sparks some interest in the conservation of their habitat.

I have included below some images of these magnificent birds.
I will leave you to consider and reach your own thoughts on the subject.


















18 comments:

  1. Such beautiful birds! Wonderful to see owls up close. I would have mixed feelings, too. I have been to rehab places here and of course they are giving life and a home to many magnificent birds that couldn't survive if they were put back in the wild, so it isn't quite the same. You hate to see any bird in captivity, but like you say these birds are being given a good home. I feel that way about zoos, too. There are pros and cons and if nothing else it is educational for the people who come and never see nature up close. Like your new blog and title.

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    1. Thanks Mary, I hate zoos and am completely against them.

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  2. Hey Roy...Hmmmm..this is a subject that is very dear to my heart one I really have a large opinion on!! I have such a hard time seeing animals, birds, etc. confined!!
    These birds are absolutely gorgeous,breathtaking creatures,and must be amazing to see up close!!
    I however can't even go to a zoo or animal park..it just stresses me to see a bear, tiger,etc. that is pacing a cage...birds that can't soar the skies!! rehabilitation refuges I can do,knowing they will be set free if possible!! I could go on and on but : )!!
    I even hate to see people have dogs that stay in a cage all day while they are at work,why have the dog in the first place.. OK I will shut up!!
    Grace

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    1. Thanks GG, as I said to Mary I hate zoos.
      Yes I don't like the idea of dogs being outside in cages either.

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  3. Roy, what magnificent photos! I don't like to keep birds as pets either but the sport of falconry is admirable if the people who do it are good to their animals! I do see the benefits you mentioned in you post. may people would not be exposed to these birds without this type of activity!

    Sorry about your blog title! I hope this works for you and I am so glad you let us know or I would not know where to find you! I will update my blogroll with this new url!

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  4. I happened across such a demonstration by accident some years ago and it was an experience I will never forget. Great to be able to see such birds close up but out and flying rather than behind bars.

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    1. It was good to be so close to these birds John.

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  5. Great birds Roy! I have been on a falconry day with my Dad, a few years ago. The person who owned and trained the birds was extremely responsible, caring for his birds like he would a young child. He hated the idea of poisoning and trapping wild birds, he was part of a breeding and re-introduction programme of a couple of birds. He hoped that with education (that these days can give) would help to end the unfair persecution that these magnificent creatures continue to undergo.
    I am in favour of Falconry, but the people who do it must be legislated properly, so NO birds are taken from the wild (something that does go on) and then sold overseas.
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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    1. Thanks John. I am pretty sure this was a reputable person who had been doing this most of his adult life and definitely appeared to care for his birds.

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  6. Hi Roy, like others, it doesn't sit comfortably with me but properly run and regulated I do see the advantages. There s no denying it is a wonderful opportunity to observe and study some magnificent birds very closely and you have some beautiful photos here.

    I had a peek at the offending blog and was bewildered as to why they would take a name which had no relation whatsoever to the very odd and random jottings I found there! I am sure your blog will be just as successful under its new name as the old one. You have certainly got off to a great start with a very nicely laid out blog and I enjoyed the Kestrel and Goldfinch on the previous posts too.

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    1. Thanks Jan, yes that blog coupled with the name doesn't make any sense at all.??

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  7. Beautiful images, Roy. So sorry about the loss of your unique name. People have no moral compass it seems these days. I hope to still keep up with you. Have a good weekend.

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  8. Hi Roy

    Sorry about the trouble you have had with your blog name. I found your comments quite interesting I am certainly not interested in hunting but my in laws hunt on the farm and it is a common pastime in the area and indeed many wild animal populations seem to be increasing. As you noted it is the use of land for these pursuits that can protect protect wild or semi wild land although the gamekeeper tradition of Europe is not widespread here. The days of the massive slaughter of the bison or market hunting of birds are over now, habitat destruction is the main problem here although limitations on over hunting continue to be needed. So hunting continues to be a subject I am still working through in my own mind.

    I loved your photos of the owls.
    All the best.
    Guy

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    1. Thanks Guy. I don't like Hunting with Horse and Hounds. It has been banned here, but it continues under the guise of using a scented trail drag or if a fox is cornered it is shot before any hounds get to it. I don't know how that is achieved however.??
      It is an ancient country pursuit however and a free country (just about - providing nobody is trying to blow you up that is).

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  9. Love these photos.So saddened to read of your blog name some people have no conscience it seems. I will keep with you.

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