Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


30.10.11
  Birds of Prey

A visit to the falcon park near Bad Sachsa in the Harz marked one of the highlights of this weekend's tour. It was the last time before daylight saving changes back and darkness will start too early for longer tours. And it may have been the last day of sunshine and pretty colours before the next storms blow the leaves away.

The falcon park in the Harz (Harzfalkenhof) is a private endeavour founded in 1964. Its aim are the breeding, protection and research of birds of prey.

Yes, I'm very pretty, ain't I?

Olga is an Eurasian eagle owl from Siberia, and she knows that she's big, fluffy, and really cute, though like a true star, she needs some coaxing until she strikes a model pose.

She's showing off again. No self respecting eagle would do that.

The bald eagle opposite her stand was much haughtier. He's well aware of the fact that images of his species have graced more than one coat of arms during history.

Talk about yourself. I like to show off.

Bateleu, also knows as pine eagle, an African sub-species. He's a bit of a clown and I suspect he knows what a camera is.

Will you stop bickering already?

African fish eagle, another high brow bird. *grin* Actually, he did fluff his feathers quite a bit, but he would never admit that.

We're the prettiest and fluffiest here.

More eagle owls. One of the breeding programs involves these, and quite successfully so. Some of the rarer species are bred with the aim of reintroducing them into their natural habitats.

Do you really want to take a pic of me? I'm a bit shy, you know.

Saker falcon. There were several different falcons, but they are rather nervous birds and didn't like it when I got close enough to the wire netting fence to take good shots, so I left them in peace.

That wire netting fence is totally getting in the way of her camera.

Yeah, you don't think that would keep me from catching you, heh. Himalayan vultures. Those are the stars of the park and their best success in breeding; the Harz Falcon Park is the first place in the world to breed them in captivity.

We're hiding in dark corners

Long-eared owls. Most birds are kept in pairs or groups to encourage breeding, and several species of birds of prey, esp. eagles, are monogamous.

There must be a way out

Golden eagle. The cages are not too small for such large birds, btw. Birds of prey don't need to fly as much as song birds and spend a lot of time sitting around. Larger aviaries would tempt them to fly and crash into the netting (some of them have wing spans of several metres). Instead, the birds get regular flying exercises by trained falconers.

No, I'm not a turkey, I'm a turkey vulture - I'll eat your Thanksgiving dinner.

Flight shows are also done for the public - the park needs the money because it doesn't get any government funds - but only during visiting season. It was the last day the park was open and my father and I were the only visitors, so we got lots of time and space to observe the birds, but no show, except for Olga's antics. :)
 
Comments:
These are great pictures - I never appreciated birds so much until I moved to the Pacific NW of the United States. There has been an extensive program to protect the Golden Eagle and Bald Eagle habitats around here and it's quite a treat to look out my window some days and see a giant bald eagle in flight. I look forward to the day I spot a Golden Eagle as I have heard they can be much larger.
 
What gorgeous birds. Cute captions, too :-)
They must be amazing to see in flight.
 
http://www.dogwork.com/owfo8/

To see them in flight....
 
Thank you, Elizabeth, Carla, and Stag. Yes, it is amazing to see them in flight - I had been to the park years ago and watched a flight show. But they are a pest to photograph when moving so fast. ;)
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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