Hawk and Owl Centre – July 2017

Hawk and Owl Centre – July 2017

Apologies for the late post, it’s been a very busy month for us here at Muncaster Hawk and Owl Centre.

Inspection time

Every zoological/animal organisation that is open to the public undergoes a zoo licensing inspection. This inspection looks into everything from animal care in the collection to the paper work side of things. We have nothing to hide here and everything is operated to the same high standard every day. However that doesn’t stop nerves cutting in. I felt as if I was at a job interview being asked lots of questions. I’m pleased to announce that we passed the inspection with flying colours!


Our young Saker falcon I mentioned in the last blog that I started working with and train has come on a long way in just a month. We decided to name him Reaper after the Grim Reaper (mythical creatures theme) as he’s really dark, has scythe shaped wings and wears a hood. His training is progressing quickly. He’s been flown on a creance line. A creance line is a strong thin line that is secured to the bird’s equipment before it’s ready to fly free. The word creance is a French word and translated to English means trust. Because falconers do not trust to fly their birds free straight away they put them on this line. Reaper was very responsive to the lure and is now flying free. It’ll be a few weeks until he has built his fitness and confidence before he’s in the ‘Sky Hunters’ display, but I’m very pleased with his progress and am rapidly falling in love with him.

Reaper checking out his land!

Film action

We had a BBC film crew here that were filming parts of the Lake District and they wanted to do a piece on Muncaster Castle. They were very interested in filming our main conservation messages and efforts at the Hawk and Owl Centre and wanted to focus on the vultures. They filmed Mighty Mite in the meadow at the ‘Sky Hunters’ demonstration and were that impressed they wanted to get even closer to a vulture, so we introduced them to Moriarty and Emma. Moriarty took it all in his stride flying to the presenter and getting close to cameras. Emma also done a very good job being interviewed and filmed for the very first time in her career, she’s a natural and I think it helped having the support of one of her favourite species of bird alongside her!

Emma and Moriarty in front of the lens

New aviaries

The new off show aviaries are now completed and they look amazing. The forestry, gardening and carpentry team have done a smashing job with great attention to detail. The aviaries are designed and built so we can operate a lot smoother with the team of birds we have in the centre.

Herriot also has his own new spacious aviary to chill out in the sun after flying. And the team of Yellow Billed Kites also have a nice wintering aviary which will be toasty warm for them as their summer one is a bit too open and exposed to Lake District elements in the winter months!

An unexpected guest

Earlier this month Peter had a phone call from a local resident nearby Muncaster who had a barn owl that had made its way into a storage room through an open door. It had been crashing around and into the window despite leaving the door wide open. Myself and Emma went to see if we could help. Upon reaching the storage room the barn owl was no where to be seen.

After clambering over boxes I accidentally knocked into an old bath spooking the barn owl out from hiding. Swiftly catching it up safely, we looked over and health checked it. It looked very healthy and felt well fed, no surprise really with the amount of open land it has around it, perfect habitat for voles to thrive!

We then took it round the back of the building where it was safe to be released. Even though I work with Mulberry our barn owl everyday, it never tires me seeing wild ones, so beautiful and graceful in flight.

I mentioned in the previous blog as well that Chip our Merlin is going through his first moult. Here is a very recent picture of him, its an amazing contrast between the juvenile plumage and adult ones coming through. Such a stunning little falcon!

Summer holidays is well underway and we’re starting to get really busy, I will try not to post so late next month but we have another busy one ahead. Despite being busy and not enough time in the day to get everything done, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

2017-09-01T17:32:49+00:00Falconers Diary, Latest News|

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