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Saturday, 15 August 2015

What was at the Raptor Foundation?


Imi and a Barn Owl
Took a trip today to the Raptor Foundation with Carole and two Granddaughters, Imogen and Jessica.  It was a nice drive across the Fens towards Huntingdon where the sanctuary is located. Many of the falcon, hawks and owls etc. Most are rescued and cannot be returned to the wild. One was a long horn eared owl that had lost its ability to fly. It was allowed to wonder around the centre among the visitors. At first, I thought it had got out of the compound that most seem to be in. I decided to find a steward and inform of the owl’s escape.

When I found a foundation worker and informed him of the owl wandering about the place; he smiled and replied. “That’s just Leo. He can’t fly and is used to people.”

I went back to see Carole, Imi and Jess and told them that Leo is doing nothing unusual. He often leaves his abode and goes for a wonder around. The owl even stopped and allowed us to photograph him for a while. He attracted a rather large gathering and then grew tired of us and walked through our gathering and onto the grass, where he made his way towards an open cage, which I presume he lived in.


There were also many raptors (birds of prey) that are not from Britain, living at the foundation. Some as far flung as Asia and the Americas.  The entire centre had many features and some wonderful looking birds. I managed to photograph many of them. I have, of course, put a small selection of them with this little blog. The others are for another time.

Leo just strolls about not taking too much notice of the visitors. He can't fly and because of this handicap, the owl has freedom of the compound and gets to roam where ever he wants.

He seems contented and does not get flustered by the attentions of the visitors. Even stopping for the odd photo shoot.

When he gets fed up (which is a bird of prey turn) He'll amble off towards his own private quarters until the pandemonium of visitors dies down. Then he'll venture out and about again.

At a certain time in the day; the visitors are invited to a falconry display. This was very interesting and a variety of different raptors were brought out and released. The birds would swoop towards the falconer and then swoop of and perch somewhere around the seating area. As this was done, the falconer would be telling us of the bird's various habits and where it lives in the wild.

I brought my camera and was able to get a number of very good shots of the various birds. The two granddaughters enjoyed the display as we walked about the foundation grounds and towards the end of the falconry display, we were treated to a group of rescued Barn owls. 

In the Fenland, where we live, there are loads of Barn owls because there has been a concerted campaign to put up owl boxes all over the Fen farm lands. This has brought about an increase in numbers of recent years,

Many of the children were invited to put on thick falconry gloves and allow the Barn owls to land upon their outstretched hands. Imi and Jess got to give it a go too.

Below are a few shots of many I took during the visit.






























The were a number of other photos that I'll use for a different blog in the near future. Mostly of the owls and hawks in flight during the falconry display.


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