Hey BB, it’s dinnertime! #eurasianeagleowl #dinnertime🍴 #owllife
… and here I am busy with my birds in June 2019. Since last year we have moved house, though still have my Owl fields in Fowey, built new aviaries, tragically lost my little brother and now look after our 3 nieces too.
So when people say ‘are you busy?’ – the answer is a definite ‘YES!’
Oh, and Whisper nipped out of her aviary about a month ago and headed down the beautiful Fowey River Valley, without so much as a thank you! After 4 years of tender, loving care too!
She was a very good weight and regularly caught any rodent that made the mistake of running into her home. I think she was ready for a mate; we are putting an owl box high up in a conifer just in case she is still around.
We only moved 4 miles up the Fowey River Valley to a beautifully secluded spot. Perfect for the birds and with the plan of hosting some private bird experiences there in the
It is more sheltered and has easier access than the field – although to free fly the hawks across the open fields is a wonderful experience when possible!
Our home is now a converted cow barn, and we have renovated the old piggeries into four very smart looking aviaries. They have turned out really well; we used the original slate for most of the roof and made the most of the large old slate walls and granite troughs that were still in place. Loki loves his en-suite.
Now, if only June would dry up… 🙂
Flying hawks can be a full time job, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. My 3 Harris hawks all have different characters. Loki is my prince, he is so loyal and mild mannered everyone who meets him falls in love a little bit.
He and I enjoy long walks across the fields; this afternoon he watched me bash tall patches of stinging nettles with a stick – how have they all grown so fast already? – Loki is watching out for any animal he can grab and flies between the branches following me, sometimes dashing past and clipping my shoulder with his wing tip as if to say ‘I’m still here, right with you’.
He rarely catches anything, but always gets a good dinner back in his aviary. Such a lucky, happy hawk, and lady!
The other 2 boys are quite different to work with. We haven’t known each other for as long as Loki and I as they both came to me just last Autumn.
Chiko had a reputation for being noisy and moody, often a new owner can change this pattern of behaviour however he is persisting – I call him Father Jack most days 🙂 He is a quick flier and good to handle, just grumpy! He is in moult now so has an excuse, I am letting him be for a while and hope he is in a better mood soon!
Thor is the eldest hawk of the 3 being 5 years old. They can live to 18 years or so in captivity and at 5 yrs old Thor knows what to do to have an easy life and get food. They are very clever birds, enjoying a hunt and also knowing, or could I say understanding, the relationship we have and therefore allowing themselves to be tethered again.
That is the real thrill for me. Having that unspoken bond with a species so different to us.
My I have had the pleasure of sharing this amazing experience with many different people this winter, even in the snow!
And finally, and quite magnificently, I have my Redtailed hawk who is cousin to our buzzards – the first birds of prey I fell in love with. She came to me with the name Cleopatra, but I called her Isie after my mum, who was a North American bird too 🙂 Isie is the largest of all my hawks, and the most timid. She will only bath indoors, very demure, and gives everyone a beautiful display of her wings as they approach to show how big she is. She does fly for me when in the mood, and it is wonderful to see her in full flight.
Hope to see you soon!
Training and caring for my birds certainly keeps me busy, and I try to make sure the birds keep busy too. The past few months have seen the birds entertaining families while they get creative in the yurt; hosting summer feast nights; giving people the thrill of having a bird of prey fly to their glove for food and taking part in several bespoke photo shoots.
The feast nights brought lots of new people to the Owl Field in August. With the Keep Cornwall Fed chefs and Kim’s Kitchen cooking up some delicious meals we will definitely be planning more for 2018.
Photography sessions have also been a big part of our activity, and the cows like to join in too and surprised Maryna of Photography by Maryna! She got her bag back with only a little cow slobber on it!!
So if I ever wonder if I am doing the right thing – I look at my birds, reflect on how much we have achieved together, and know that I am doing exactly the right thing…then I put the kettle on!
Chaya has grown into a confident hunter, and a wonderful companion on long walks, however she can be moody with people as is typical of any female Harris.
Then I saw this lovely boy looking for a new home and couldn’t resist!
He is so gentle and well mannered, and tiny compared to Chaya; and today, only 12 days after I collected him, he happily flew free to my glove in my field! 😃
He is amazing and I have been grinning every day since we bought him home on Easter Monday…….but there was also a Redtail Hawk for sale….so I had to buy her too!
Fortunately my husband Mike got totally besotted with her and built a beautiful aviary next to Chaya’s so we could collect her today 😊
And here she is – happy in the shed and so relaxed she even ate from Mike’s glove. She is going to settle in beautifully, I am sure.
Two beautifully reared and manned birds make my team complete. I am really looking forward to working with them this year.
See you soon !
As the days got colder I noticed visitors in my owl shed, ladybirds were gathering to hibernate – how cute I thought!!
They even looked like they were having a party with a spider and woodlouse, or chuggypig as my brother calls them.
I was thrilled – until a friend who has an allotment in the next field pointed out that they are Harlequin Ladybirds, Harmonia axyridis, and are a danger to our native ladybird and should be destroyed 😦 I have seen ladybird farm kits for sale and previously thought it was silly to keep pollinating insects captive, but now I see this as the perfect solution to these alien invaders and I am sure my nieces will enjoy looking after them.
My other aliens are, of course, my birds. Not Whisper the barn owl as she is native to the UK – she actually came to me from Somerset. However my other birds, while born and bred in the UK for many many generations do originate from other countries. Peanut the burrowing owl is native to America – found in many states and doing very well over there, almost a pest to some people when they dig up their gardens.
BB King the Eurasian Eagle owl came to me from a back garden near Plymouth. The species used to be native here until about 400 years ago, and many are still found in the wild across Europe. Victor the Spotted Eagle owl actually originates from Africa – although he also came to me from Somerset where he was bred. In Africa these owls are a favourite pet with children due to their quiet and calm nature – Victor all over!
Chaya the Harris hawk also came to me from near the Tamar in Liskeard; but her species originates from South America where they are often seen perching on high cacti as lookout perches while hunting for wild jackrabbits. I think in this cold weather Chaya would certainly prefer the desert heat – and I may join her!
Roll on Spring!
We have had some beautiful days this winter, bright sunshine while the frost on the ground crunches underfoot. Today the skies are grey and it is wet and windy, which means that I am inside and have time to write this blog – a good thing… though I would rather be outside in the fields.
Chaya and I have enjoyed some stunning days together, and she is getting used to me taking my phone out of my pocket to photograph her – now she doesn’t think it is her food!
Chaya looks so stunning against the bright blue winter sky, I am in awe when she is flying free. She is such a free spirit and will soar overhead, suddenly swooping into a far field after something she has seen – I rarely see what she is after. I wait a couple of minutes and then whistle [I can whistle very loud] and she comes soaring back, often so close I feel her wing brush against my shoulder.
We have had some visitors in the field recently, and Whisper was on her best behaviour for a special birthday 2 hour Owl Experience just before Christmas [available to book anytime, check out my Shop page and give me a shout!]
Whisper flies so beautifully, and so silently, she leaves me speechless.
Whisper loves the twilight, and her plumage looks even more stunning in the low winter sun – especially late afternoon when the sun is setting.
And Peanut, well, he had to come in and join me for a coffee the other day, just for the company of course! He loves sitting in the sun shining through the kitchen window while I rub his ear.
Then he roused – ruffled his feathers…I took this photo on my phone – love that you can see Peanut’s point of rotation!! Crazy dude, we love you Peanut!!
See you in Feb!!