Busy Birds

art, birds, cute, events, fairies, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, Hoots, nature, Owls, Owls, photography

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!

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Busy Owls

birds, cute, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, Owls

How time flies in the summer – especially with my owls, a hawk and a site to complete before my first ever field event on August 13th – that’s less than 2 weeks!!!

The birds are all moulting like crazy – it seems like I have more of their feathers than they do 🙂

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Peanut lost his last tail feathers last week and looked like a kid with gappy teeth!  He has been busy helping me with my summer sessions at Trenython Hotel and Fowey Hall as well and it seems it is all very tiring for a little owl…

peanut sleeping at work

Peanut still loves his cuddles, especially when we tickle him behind his ears – at least I think that is where they are!

Chaya, my Harris hawk, has been soaking up the sun at every opportunity.

sunny harris hawk

She is also moulting like crazy so I am giving her a rest and feeding her up – she has been a very happy, if a little fat, hawk and today I saw her new tail feathers appearing – much nicer than the one I found in her aviary the other day…she had definitely worn that one out!

Time to go and cut the grass…again…..and I can see the sun 🙂

 

Owls, Fairies and a Mermaid too!

art, birds, cute, fairies, Hoots, mermaid, nature, Owls, Owls, photography, Selfies

The two youngest owls, Peanut my Burrowing Owl and Whisper my Barn Owl, were invited to attend the Three Wishes Fairy Fair in the beautiful grounds of Mount Edgecombe House near Torpoint last weekend.  This was the 10th year the Fairy – or Faery to be precise – Fair has run, all thanks to my ‘sister-in-law’ Karen Kay.

Love Karen

Love the Fairy fair with Karen Kay

The sun shone on Saturday afternoon as I arrived with owls and my daughter, Hayley who was helping me by taking charge of Peanut for the afternoon.

Of course the owls got a lot of attention from all the wonderful people there, and everyone was amazed to see the owls so calm even with the crowds wanting to all say hello.  Whisper was so relaxed she even fell asleep on my glove – twice!

Whisper snoozes by the mushrooms

Whisper snoozes by the mushrooms

Whisper relaxing with the fairies

Whisper relaxing among the fairies

I made sure Whisper wore her special colourful ribbons for the day,  and I was amazed to hear how many people – or I should say faery folk – have an owl as their animal spirit!  I learnt a lot about faeries that day!

There was so much to see and people to meet.  However imagine how surprised Hayley and I were when we walked around a corner and found a mermaid!!  Yes, a mermaid!!  She introduced herself as The St Ives Mermaid. I introduced myself as The Bird Lady of Fowey, of course!…it was wonderful to meet her and she was so lovely to talk with.  Of course I have invited her to my In the Company of Owls event in August, I hope she comes – I have a paddling pool she could use!!

St Ives Mermaid meets Bird Lady of Fowey

St Ives Mermaid meets Bird Lady of Fowey

Mermaid and Owls

Owls and a Mermaid

Further down the field we came across this beautiful vintage wagon adorned with amazing artwork and carvings.  I think the owls would have quite happily moved in and stayed there!

Beautiful vintage wagon.JPG

Owls and beautiful vintage wagon

It really was a gorgeous afternoon, walking around the wonderful grounds of Mount Edgecombe House with the owls, sitting on the grass and taking in the sites and generally enjoying chatting with my daughter – all in the company of owls!!

Thank you, Karen, for inviting us.  We would love to come again next year!!

Love Owls and Faeries.JPG

Owls and Karen Faery Kay – thank you!

A Harris Hawk called Chaya

birds, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, photography

On Pancake day this year I collected my very own Harris Hawk.  After over 30 years of waiting I finally got a Hawk of my own – so very exciting and nerve racking all at the same time!  I love my owls and always will, but a Harris Hawk is a completely different bird all together.  Much more like a working dog in the way a relationship can be forged – becoming partners in nature.  As a child I dreamt of this day.

Chaya Harris Hawk

She arrived angry and disgruntled – her previous aviary had it’s roof blown off by the storm Imogen 2 days before, and with her owners moving soon they did not want to rebuild so put her up for sale.  She had only been with them for a few months and had flown free just a couple of times, hunting but not caught anything yet.

Still a young bird, hatched in 2014 at the end of June, she had not been trained or flown as much as she could have been so it was going to be up to me to bring her ‘in to her own’.  I had briefly worked with her early last summer and I hoped she may remember me as the person who had encouraged her to fly to the glove for food, and on a creance too.  However with her strong feet and attitude I really wasn’t sure if she did, or ever would!

Feb 2016 yellow feet Harris Hawk

She needed a name – Birdy was all she had been called before.  After searching through my usual Google pages of goddess names and the like I chose Chaya – meaning Full of Life in Hebrew ,with similar words in Gaelic meaning hawk like, and in Mexican meaning life giving.  A good strong name for a beautiful, strong female Harris Hawk.

She showed good spirit [or temper!] and was very keen for food so I quickly got her flying in the field on a creance [long 30 metre leash] while we got to know each other.

Chaya on creance.JPG

Chaya loves playing in trees and chasing squirrels, though still hasn’t caught one yet.  She is getting used to the wind too, after the storm she really did seem quite unnerved by the wind, especially strong gusts, but with regular flying she is getting stronger and more confident by the day.  We go out every day possible, wind or rain as long as it is not too rough!

 

Chaya loves company, Harris Hawks are very social creatures, so she is by my side most of the day – watching me tend my parking area, visiting friends or on her bow perch in my garden as I type my blogs.

She will, hopefully, live to the age of about twenty, and I look forward to our adventures together.  She is now flying free every day and has started preening my hair [which needs it after our walks].  I have found a good friend.

Harris Hawk flies over willow

So Far, so Shed

art, nature, Owls, Shed

I am loving my shed.  From a second hand purchase found in St Blazey last year, we took it down and put it back together in the field – in a bit of haste as the ground wasn’t really level, but it was a start.

Garden Shed

So now I have somewhere to shelter from the weather and weigh the owls – very important as this quickly tells me if they are healthy, hungry or fat!

Owl scales

 

 

 

 

 

Owl weight chart

I can also make cups of tea – and of course have a place for my Owl Advent calendar [thank you little brother].

Owl shed kettle on!

Owl advent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, after a lot of hard work on a really windy day with my daughter’s boyfriend who wheelbarrowed loads of gravel up the field to make a solid base… …

shed base ready

…And with a big THANKS to the Fowey Lankelly Rugby team who incredibly picked it up and moved it last weekend for me the shed is now on solid ground – and doesn’t wobble when anyone goes inside!!

Shed on the moveShed halfway thereShed landing

Today I have made a good start on sanding down the outside and putting some colour on the old wood.  Beach Hut blue works well in the field, I think 🙂

Shed Beach Hut BlueOwl Shed in a field

 

Owl Xmas Parties

art, cute, Owls, photography

Peanut and Victor had a very busy Xmas and New Year with 5 private dates and 2 charity events in their diaries.  Luckily for me they were all indoors, and in some beautiful rooms – Victor looked especially grand in the billiards room at Fowey Hall Hotel.

Victor New Years Day at Fowey Hall

Victor at Fowey Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The families enjoyed learning owl facts [ most people know the word nocturnal, but diurnal is a new one for many] and making owl masks.

Of course when the children wear their masks they are definitely not allowed to move their eyes but have to remember to move their heads to see, just like the owls do!

Trenython Manor had a glorious Xmas tree in the room, making a wonderful backdrop for the close up and personal photographs with the families.  I would love to offer evening owl walks through their gardens when the weather warms up a bit.

Peanut Xmas at Trenython

Lankelly Rugby Club Junior Xmas Party chose a Hogwarts theme this year, so an invitation for the owls to attend was an obvious choice.  I made sure I was prepared and researched the owls famous in the Harry Potter series, putting together fact sheets showing the children how these owls live in the real world – rather than being used mainly for postal deliveries as in the stories.  As both Victor and Peanut were at the party the children, and adults, could see the huge diversity of these fascinating birds – especially after I pointed out that Peanut was just as fully grown as Victor and not his baby at all!

Victor at Lankelly

The invitation to the Rugby Club’s party came as a direct result of the support I have been giving to CHICKS – Country Holidays for Inner City Kids – who have a holiday retreat in the nearby village, Tywardreath.  Peanut and I attended two of their fundraising Xmas mornings, one in Snuggles Nursery in Bodmin and the second at Happy Days Nursery in St Blazey.  For a small donation anyone could have a close up photograph taken of them with Peanut.  This went down really well and we raised £80 for the charity which was fab!

Peanut working for CHICKS DSCN4653

Snuggles Nursery put us in their sensory room, which was perfect!  Peanut is very used to the public attention and is so photogenic that the nursery are thinking about having him as their mascot!!

I already have a few more dates booked for 2016, which is really exciting as it means my business is starting to fly 🙂  Plans to work with CHICKS and deliver activities to those children are in the pipeline and still lots of digging and building in the field to do too. Meanwhile using other venues is giving me the chance to get out with the owls, meet loads of lovely people and share the owl love!!

Victor’s Day Out

birds, nature, Owls, photography

Some days it has been so wet and windy it is hard to get the owls out of their aviaries.   When it is really rough I leave them in peace and quiet; in the wild they would stay put in a sheltered spot and wait for the weather to pass so it’s quite natural for them – just like we like to stay where we are warm and dry, and watch the rain pour down.  On those days I will spend some time standing with each of them, having a chat and giving them their food.

Victor still hasn’t made a sound but the other three hoot, screech and chirrup joining in the conversation!   Victor contributes through expression, his eyelids are the best and he winks and blinks – maybe it’s a kind of owl morse code…I will decipher it one day.  He is getting more confident when he is taken out, and much more interested in looking around rather than staring at me with a rather shocked expression!

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Here we are sheltering in the ‘spare’ aviary during a heavy shower – spare as in it is supplying the spare parts needed for the new aviaries and will soon be taken down completely.  We removed the door and front panel just a few days ago for the new, better and stronger aviaries – fingers crossed finished this week – wow!!!

 

Victor really likes my shed.  The first time he went in to be weighed was the first time I had seen him take a real notice of his surroundings – he had a good look around, visibly relaxed and happily looked out of the window while I made a cup of tea.

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I think he must have been in a shed with his previous owners at some point, as he loves it in there every time now.  IMG_2939

 

My brother and his lovely girls bought me an Owl Advent calendar  – Victor loved it too!

 

It gets a bit chilly in the field while spending time with Victor, so I decided to go for a walk around and see who else was about at the farm.

We visited Pete – who was out, but Victor liked the look of the caravan.

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So then we went down to the yard to see if my brother was about, though forgot that is was nearly 3pm so he would be doing the school run picking up his girls.  Victor quite liked the old cartwheel by his back door and I couldn’t resist making the most of this photo opportunity.

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Soon Victor is going to be guest of honour, with Peanut, at the Lankelly Rugby Club junior’s Xmas party.  This will be Victor’s first public appearance since he came to live with me so it is very exciting.  I am making him new anklets and jesses [or furniture to use the correct term] especially for the occasion, so he will look very smart and I am sure he will impress everyone there, blinking quietly in his way.

Time to put Victor back and feed the owls.