Myself and Emma have had a busy couple of months! In February’s blog I mentioned that there will be new additions to the Hawk and Owl Centre, we’ve chosen our new human team to join the centre and are really looking forward to them starting as of next week. It’s very exciting and it shows the dedication and passion with these people as they are both moving their lives and homes to come and work at Muncaster. George is coming over from Yorkshire and Anna has trumped the distance by coming all the way over from Sweden to work here!! I’m sure we’ve chosen the right people to fit in nicely with the team and the ethos of the centre. However, they haven’t started yet but there’s a new addition that has!
Allow me to introduce to you Phoenix, she joined the flying (well not quite yet) team a couple of days ago. She is a beautiful 10 day old Rock Eagle Owl chick. At this stage she is still very small weighing in today at 167 grams!!! Although she is already heavier than Chip our male Merlin. She will be going home with members of bird staff every day and will be being exposed to everything to make her an A class demonstration bird. She’s already being very cheeky and climbing onto my laptop as I type this! It’s incredible to watch her grow daily and will be an absolute pleasure watching her develop into a winged wonder. If you are interested in seeing her and her progress, come to watch the daily displays and meet her in person afterwards, every person she meets will help her in her training. Now, I’ve made the biggest mistake that bird staff can make by referring to Phoenix as her, we cannot be certain at this stage in her life whether she is a he, or he is she! But Emma said we need more girls on the team so we’ll be referring to Phoenix as a she for now.
She’s smaller than a mug at the moment
We also had another feathery friend join the team very briefly last week. I was on the cannon bank at the wild heron feed and talk when shortly after I had finished, a pigeon flew overhead, circled round and landed by my feet. It (no he or she) was very tame walking around and pecking on my shoes. You could clearly see it was not a wild wood pigeon and it also had a ring on its leg. When we hold birds in the centre for health checks and fitting equipment, we have to be very cautious of both ends of the birds. With raptors they can give you a nasty handshake with their feet or a nasty kiss from their beaks if you’re not careful. Whereas this pigeon was very accepting to be held with an added benefit of no dangerous natural tools available for it to use. Peter took the ring number and we were able to trace the owner, to which we found out, it is a she! She had flown all the way from Workington which is an hour away by car, but a long journey for a bird that had escaped her aviary and never flown out of it in her life! We fed and watered her, gave her a warm place to sleep overnight and she was safely reunited with her owner the next day.
As we’re fast approaching the 24th March, we’ve been getting birds and the meadow ready to start doing displays up there again.
As from the 24th March we will be doing our 11:30am World of Owls display in the Old Rose Garden and our 2pm Sky Hunters display in the meadow.
Here’s Emma securing the benches with stakes! She certainly can swing a mell, she’d give Thor a run for his money!
Spring is definitely in the air at Muncaster and my favourite season, the Heron’s breeding is well under way, Ravens nesting and songbirds displaying. The centre’s pond is also looking blooming lovely!
I could write pages of the work and things that are going on in the Hawk and Owl Centre, however Phoenix has just pooped on the laptop and my hand so will end this blog here!