Birds of Prey

I promised my youngest daughter a while back that I would take her with me on my next photo excursion, and knowing her fondness for animals, thought she might enjoy watching Birds of Prey flying. I figured it would also be a new challenge for me. As a kid, Birds of Prey were my first real interest, and being able to see them close up like this was something I was really looking forward to.

The Birds of Prey centre in Kirby Wiske, North Yorkshire, is a small place and you’ll get round it in about 15 minutes. The birds look quite miserable, it has to be said, sat on their perches or in their cages. Then again, you don’t go to see them, you go to watch them fly. They do three displays each day and they fly five birds each time and it lasts for about an hour. Stunning isn’t the word.

White tailed Sea Eagle
Kyla, the White-Tailed Sea Eagle, comes in for a landing.
Kestrel
Branston the Kestrel
Great Grey Owl
Misty, the Great Grey Owl. (Yes, he was coming straight for us.)

The flying displays were all I’d hoped they would be. The pictures, were all I’d expected!! These things are fast and close and the D90’s auto-focus struggled to keep up with both the 18-105 and an old 70-210 attached. Not only that, but I just wasn’t quick enough adjusting the zoom, so there were a lot of clipped wings!

Each of the birds has its own personality, none more comical than Grim, the Vulture, who was quite happy sitting next to you.

White Backed Vulture
Grim the White Backed Vulture. Quite a pleasant fellow.

Vulture
The same view from my daughter's broken point & shoot.

For many though, the star of the day was Muppet – a tiny Little Owl that earned its name because of a habit of trying to take on some of the bigger Eagles – that the kids were allowed to hold.

Holding a Little Owl

How can you argue with an adorable little thing like that!

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