So i'm now currently into my fifth month at college, it is going so quickly. I'm currently on my second work experience (at a dog groomers) I'll be writing about my experience on my work placements in a separate post. Last Wednesday, we had a visit from The Owl Experience based in Derby, who specialise in Birds of Prey and offer experience days, courses in Falconry and more.
On Wednesday, four owls were brought it (although I can't remember what species, one was the barn owl, whilst another was from Africa, maybe the African Eagle Owl whilst the other was the Indian Eagle Owl) as well as three Falcons. The day started off with all of the birds tied to their own little perches at the front, because we were told if they were allowed to roam/fly around they would kill/eat each other, I find the idea of Owls eating Owls etc. a little odd and something I didn't know Owls do. Anyway after a brief introduction about the Owl Experience and what they do, they asked if anyone wanted to volunteer, me getting all excited jumped up along with a few other people and was told to head to the table at the back whilst others can watch. Here I was thinking we was going to be doing something fun for one of the guys to pull out a box of dead chicks and demonstrated to us how to pull them a part. At this point I backed out, knowing I want to work with animals I may have to do this one day this day wasn't it. I did however learn an interesting fact about chicken eggs, maybe everyone knows this but I had no idea, I always assume the yolk was the part if fertilised would turn into the chick, however if you look at an egg there is a tiny dot near the yolk and in the egg white which is the part that grows into a chick, the egg white acts as a cushion whilst the yolk supplies nutrition to the growing chick and ends up inside them, so if you ever do pull apart a day old dead chick you can see the yolk sack inside. Well I thought it was interesting!
We were then shown how to make jesses, and got to make our own, using a scrap of leather, a hammer and some other tools. Jesses are used to help the trainer maintain control over a bird, they wrap around the birds ankle to anchor the bird in places during training. Once that was done it was now time to feed/see the birds fly (this was done individually and whilst the other birds were put back into their boxes.) I'm pretty sure I have never seen an Owl (or Falcon) before so I was really excited, the first Owl allowed to fly around was the African Owl (I think, the Indian/African Owls look so alike) this was the one most of us got to hold!!! I've always wanted to do this so I was happy I got to have a go! After that the Barn Owl was let out, and we were told about how Barn Owls are referred to as Ghost Owls because of their White feathers and how silent they are, this one just scraped over my head three times, making me jump because he truly was quiet. Then we were shown the Falcons, and was told about the differences in wings to those of the Owls, hunting techniques and more.
It really was an interesting day, and I felt like I learnt quite a bit in such a short space of time.
Has anyone ever done a Birds of Prey experience day before, I would love to be able to do it all over again.