Archive for September, 2012

Falconry display news September 2012

We are at the end of another show season although we continue as always to offer year round falconry and birds of prey displays.

It has been an interesting season from various viewpoints. Firstly we had a disaster at the beginning of June by losing ‘Bella’ one of our Lanner Falcons at Thornbury Castle Hotel.

We have been flying birds of prey at Thornbury Castle for over 20 years without a memorable hitch.  However it is common to have minor glitches as you are dealing with living things but generally they are only noticed by the falconer.

On this occasion Bella disappeared over the Castle walls which she had done many times and failed to reappear. My immediate response was to grab my telemetry gear and quickly try and reclaim her as I know from experience that she was unlikely to go far.

To cut a long story short I saw her briefly but never again. The weather suddenly turned and we had probably the worst early June weather in living memory which hampered greatly our search and would have the effect of potentially blowing a lost falcon many miles away – possibility across the Bristol Channel.

Apart from great concern for the welfare of the falcon I was suddenly bereft of my most versatile falcon whom I had had for 11 years. So this summer we have bought two new falcons a lanner falcon and a lugger falcon both 2012 birds. I am glad to report that the Lanner is doing really well and the Lugger coming on but they take longer to develop anyway.

The loss of a falcon is about the worst thing that can happen to a falconer and of course there has been a lot of soul searching by me about the whole incident. Months later I am still waiting for that phone call.

The season itself apart from the above has been busier than ever with my usual great variety of events and displays – which of course is always encouraging looking ahead and having to work harder than ever with two new falcons to train it has created its own momentum – and it has been good though the miss of ‘Bella’ has always been there.

One always reviews the season to seek improvements in all areas – the falcon base flying displays have always been my main thing with strong interactive work with harris hawks and ‘Bo’ the Eagle owl to create on the one hand a falconry display but also fun based family entertainment.

The static display continues always to be popular and in future we will attempt to make this area more interactive and less passive. I have always viewed the static display area as the place where the birds of prey are managed through the show day – a waiting to fly area rather than a seperate entity and next year will use this area to build momentum towards the flying display with better communication with show visitors.

The flying displays are constantly evolving and why not the static display.

I will close with a photograph of ‘Bella’ being flown at Thornbury Castle – a lovely falcon and much missed._BB16640e