Once a year the whole Myakka team downs tools and takes a day out of the office, warehouse and shop and take part in the Myakka team day out. So on Tuesday 3rd July we all set out on a grey summers day to the Hawk Conservancy Trust to say hello to some really rather majestic birds of prey.
After arriving and having a necessary cup of tea we set off to meet our first bird of prey Phoebe the Harris Hawk. The whole team got to have a go with her flying back and forth and landing on our arms, for a treat each time of course!
We next went on the separate into two groups, one to fly Owls and the other to fly Vultures and feed the kites in mid-flight. The two groups met a variety of different owls, Troy the Tawny Owl, Gucci and then most peoples favourite little Nigel who came complete with a fluffy moustache and who growled when he wanted to be fed.
The two Hooded Vultures the group had were Fagin and Jack Sparrow. Having one of these land on your arm was a little different to having a little owl land, they were a lot heavier and their wing span was a lot larger which they didn’t mind hitting you round the head with! Part of the work the Hawk Conservancy trust dose is to try and raise awareness and vultures need a little help. The vultures don’t seem to have many fans despite the critical role they play in the wild. Many species are under threat and are some are close to extinction, unfortunately their seems to be little awareness from the general public about their plight which means little is being done to help them.
The whole team then joined together and watched a display of birds including Barn Owls Test and Avon, Madeline the Secretary Bird, who gave a wonderful display of kicking a plastic snake, and some Indian Runner Ducks who were involved in both a thrilling and tense race!
Our next port of call was to meet some very fluffy owl babies, Jonathan and Paula (named after the Olympians) and a young vulture with attitude, Parsnip. Parsnip is an Oriental White Back Vulture (like the ones in the Jungle Book!), this breed of vultures is incredibly endangered as medicine that cattle are given kills the birds.
Our final destination, after a filling lunch, was to watch the amazing hawk display. This included a display from a Peregrine Falcon named Lark, who was a little reluctant to fly in the wet weather. An amazing display from a group of very low flying vultures, who were flying a little too close for comfort at times and a display from a large group of Black Kites who are able to catch food thrown up to them mid-flight. The grand finale was watching Cheyenne the Bold Eagle fly from trees miles away over to the display area. This bird is so large it needed more room to fly than the rest of the birds so had to fly from outside the conservancy.
After a look round the conservancy and a browse in the shop the Myakka team left the day feeling refreshed and a little soggy complete with a new found love of Vultures! We had a brilliant day and would like to thank the Hawk Conservancy Trust for the excellent hospitality, for looking after us so well and for putting on an excellent show.