This year is flying by, I cannot believe it’s April already and Easter is just around the corner!
Anna and George have started, they have picked up things very quickly and have fitted into the team really well. There’s always a worry that when new staff members start in a centre of birds that have worked with the same three people for a quite some time, it can take some of them a while to adjust and build a bond with staff. All of the birds have been great with Anna and George with the exception of one! And it had to be one of my favourites, Herriot our incredible Steppe eagle. He’s still amazing in his manners and flight, however, staff in his life have changed and so he’s changed a bit. Changed in the fact that the other day when flying him in the Sky Hunters demonstration, he decided he was going to thermal for about 30 minutes as he refused to come back down to food! At least he was in sight the whole time. And the next day decided to take 25 minutes to come down from soaring! Now 30 minutes doesn’t sound like long, but every bird that we fly in the Sky Hunters display is given about a 7-8 minute time slot and it’s also an awfully long time to commentate on one bird, in the sun, along with screaming bored children! Eagles can be very sensitive creature but I’m sure with a bit of time, Herriot will be back on track.
Phoenix our baby Rock Eagle Owl is growing bigger and bigger everyday and is changing everyday. She’s lost her egg tooth, is big enough to wear her identification ring, starting to grow flight feathers, has fluffy ear tufts developing and is running to us for food now. Myself and Phoenix done our very first film job for the opening of the newly refurbished library in the Castle, I must admit it was strange being in front of the camera but Phoenix was great and it was an added bonus that she didn’t poop on the library carpet! Staff are now taking it in turns who babysits her and takes her home with them at the end of the day. When she goes home with Emma she gets Harry Potter read to her. When she goes home with George she gets to play on the PlayStation. With Anna she watches movies. And with myself she gets to listen to Mumford and Sons. Come see her progress for yourself after the Wild Heron feed on the canon bank at 4pm.
The weather has been nice and kind to us recently and right at the end of March on the 31st, Muncaster was joined by one of my favourite species of birds! This time a wild bird. Emma spotted the first Barn Swallow of year, which is really early! I absolutely love these birds! I think it’s incredible that a bird that weighs around 18 grams in weight, fly’s all the way from Africa on migration to breed here in this country. Sand martins are also down the road at Drigg dunes which is SSSI (Special Site of Scientific Interest). Just the House Martins and the fantastic Swifts left to spot this year, and then I’m a happy man! As a child I was never interested in reading books and articles, but as you get older passion takes over and makes you want to read about things that interest you! I read an article on Swifts last year and found out that the oldest known swift that was found, was about 18 years old, it was reckoned that the individual flew in its lifetime about 4 million miles, the equivalent to flying to the moon and back 8 times!! And that is why these birds put a smile on my face.
Moriarty our Hooded Vulture has finished his display season in the Old Rose Garden arena as his best friend Mighty Mite is flying up in the meadow at 2pm everyday now. However Moriarty is now in training for new vulture experience sessions for visitors, Help a Hoodie! Keep an eye on the website for details on our experiences as he should be ready to meet guests soon!