Sunday, 27 April 2014

Its a grey weekend, the flashes of sunshine make everything look so wonderful, but the grey is a little dismal I have to say.

Shasta is enormous!! We are now taking bets on how many puppies she is going to produce, she is not due until May 6th or 7th, I have the British Raptor Fair on the 4th and 5th and you can guarantee that she decides to produce on one of those days. I come back each night, but I really don't want to miss the first litter of puppies for 13 years!!! Mark has made me a really smart whelping box which is by my desk in the office, but right now Sorrel is flat out in it!!


Jimmy has got Rhombic Knight (White-tailed Sea-eagle) going again, it is nice to see him flying well. John has a new baby Eurasian Eagle Owl called Storm - the theme this year is weather, she is going to be a big girl!!! Helen is going to train a new Barn Owl to come to buzzers, it is weighing in at 37 grams at the moment, so there is a way to go. Mark is flying his Aplomado again which is lovely to see, it will be interesting to see how he develops. Holly has just hatched our third Verreaux's Eagle who is doing very well and Adam has put a webcam on the baby Burrowing Owls, who at this minute are just all scrunching up against the Asian Brown Wood Owl because they have been fed, but it is chaos when it gets towards feeding time - you can see it on the front page of the website - its a real time waster though, so be warned.


At the moment the killing of birds of prey in Scotland is completely out of control, the landowners apparently have gone back to the Victorian times and are happy to poison, trap or shoot anything with a hooked beak. A huge lack of understanding still lives on there with closed minds refusing to learn and understand. However here is a huge news topic (TV/newspapers) in the Highlands about the spate of raptor persecution (poisoning of about 20 birds to date including red kites and buzzards). Probably the most useful thing to have happened was that it was originally blamed on the farmers. The local farmers are incandescent about being blamed, mainly, we think, because they suspect from whence the poisonings come! They (NFU Scotland) are screaming at Police Scotland for not investigating with more vigour and for not having found and prosecuted the perpetrators to date. There is a £27,000 reward being offered. All one can hope is that this time the guilty parties are not only found, but the Procurator Fiscals in Scotland start to treat these crimes in the way they should instead of brushing them under the carpet.
The gardens are looking lovely at the moment, Rob is doing a great job, sadly the rain for the third year has not made my tree Peony very happy once it flowered.

Friday, 25 April 2014
revolting man plucking dead Orange Breasted Falcon

I have to say that I have always hated reality television. I guess the stuff where a lot of people who have nothing better to do with their lives are put in a house and filmed 24 hours a day is harmless although why anyone with a brain would want to watch them defeats me, however I have always been less tolerant of the ones where you see people doing things that involve anything alive. Now I admit that I am not a great fan of maggots or beetles, but to have people roll about in them seems to be fairly disgusting and show no regard for living things. However the American television have just hit a major low in my book. There is a reality television programme called Naked and Afraid by the Discovery channel and the latest episode shows a singularly unattractive and obviously mentally deficient naked male killing an Orange Breasted Falcon (about the size of a male Kestrel and increasingly rare in the wild), plucking it, skewering it on a stick and eating it. This is in Bolivia, I have not been able (nor have any desire) to see any of the programmes, an enraged American falconer sent me pictures, but I suspect there is more killing of animals, birds and fish to entertain the watching public.
Why is the question that any intelligent person would ask, what are they doing it for, what sort of particularly nasty people are they that a) perform in it b)think up the idea c) go and film it and presumably make money out of it. Does television around the world have no morals, no ethical watchdog that controls them - apparently not. Personally I would like to make a television programme with all those involved from the TV company down - with them being eaten by something very large and hungry. Because these people are not starving, they do not have to do this to keep alive, it is gratuitous, mindless exploitation of a living creature for commercial gain. Shame shame shame on the Discovery Channel, the authors, producers, film crew and people involved.
While I am annoyed, the washing machines continue to stir me up. Apart from the fact that the Hoover one is a piece of crap, the other one just took from 2.45 until after 5.30 to complete a wash, I could have done each towel by hand, and got them dry in that time. And this is supposed to be washing machines designed to conserve - what exactly are they conserving. The shortest wash I can find is 20 minutes and that is for only 2.5 kilos. And this is technology improving, I don't think so.
Sedge is much the same, he likes the Kerdog and races around barking, however his driving leaves a bit to be desired as he tries to corner too tightly and frequently comes to a grinding halt. I found him helping the labs with a rabbit hole yesterday, but he had to have help to come out of the corner he was lodged in!
Shasta is extremely pregnant, she is huge!! She is due to have pups on the 6th or 7th, but if she lasts that long I will be surprised, and needless to say the two days prior I am away doing flying demonstrations. We are taking bets on the number she will produce, the top is 13!! I do hope not!
Holly and I took the second baby Griffon Vulture up to Duncombe and put it back with the parents, so far so good, although they were unsure to start with. The baby Burrowing Owls are doing well and are manic to feed, one of them fell into the bowl of warm water that we use to warm up the food, he is not a good swimmer. Very sadly the wonderful baby Condor that hatched and was a boy, only survived three days, he was not right from the start and we could not pull him through.
Otherwise things continue, My Red Kite really has been flying well, although she did manage to find a dog toy the other day and flew up into a tree with it, refusing to come down until I threw food out on the ground for her!! I then had to race her to it!
The Mountain Caracara's laid their first egg...................and ate it! We are waiting for the Striated Caracara's to lay but they are not allowed to have their young back after last year. Our pair of Grey Buzzard Eagles up at Duncombe came back with us on the trip this week and are fertile, which is great because that means we can put together an unrelated pair for the future.
Chris Packham is doing a great job publicising the mass slaughter of migrating birds on Malta, don't forget you can help, encourage anyone you know NOT to go on holiday to Malta, hit their economy and things might change.
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
The weather has been lovely, well OK - little in the way of rain, but it is still not quite half way through April so it is bound to be cold on occasion. Our opening of the hospital went well, Bill and Kris Bailey were wonderful, the day was fine if a little cold, the birds flew well, the food was great, as was the drink, dogs behaved, I think Sedge was a little over excited at one point, Bill was wonderful and the official opening of the hospital is now done.

The breeding goes on apace, we have four baby Lanners, three are fine, one had a difficult hatch but that is doing well now. The chicks with the various parents are doing well. Sadly the Sakers are infertile again, which was a big disappointment, and not one we expected, the
Turkey Vulture eggs are also infertile, so we are trying again with them. The second Griffon Vulture is out and doing well, I have to make the decision as to whether or not to return it to its parents, that depends on a number of issues right now. The first Grey Buzzard Eagle of the year is out, only one egg this time, but the chick is cool and we have six burrowing owl chicks who are heaven!
The first show of the year, Cotswold Vale Point to Point went very well, it is a great show to start the season, really relaxed, no pressure, a 40 minute slot which means we can really do a good demonstration and all the birds did brilliantly, The Thinker, the new Harris Hawk did well - it was his first time away, and Bush Master who has not been away for two years was superb! I am more relaxed about the shows for this year now, although I have to say I hate doing two demonstrations in a day, it is not fun and I don't think they do as well.

The flying birds are really coming on and Pinotage is back out, and on duty today, the White-tailed Sea-eagle and the young Grey Buzzard Eagle are both out for the season and Megstone the Merlin is finally flying really well, it has been a battle but she seems to have got it now. I have grounded my Hobby as she really needs a moult, and Muckle Row the Red Kite, although extremely temperamental is flying really well too, we have a wild one coming around probably once a fortnight now, which is great to see.
Sedge is about the same, his KerDog finally arrived and he is being fitted today, his swimming is going OK, he has finished the Laser treatment for now and the electrical impulse stuff is done once or twice a day. We are having the occasional battle with his little willie, but it is behaving today!
The new Brooder and Incubation facility is coming on, it will be really good to get that done because the chicks don't like the bright sun for feeding and we have a window away from the sun in the new building. We need kitchen unit bases and we need a computer if anyone has one to spare!!
Some people say that mobile phones don't kill conversation - really????
The theme for the names this year is weather, I have printed out about nine pages of names some of which are lovely Black Blizzard,  Cloud Burst,  Dust Devil, Sleet, Wind, and so on as well as cloud formations. Lots of choice! We have a new baby Eurasian Eagle Owl to join the team, the Asian Brown Wood Owl chick is going to join as well and we are crossing our fingers that our Hawk Owl eggs are fertile as I have not trained one of those for ages.
Condor hatching in time for Easter - how about that for an Easter Chick!
Thursday, 3 April 2014
The second Steller's chick is now well, healthy, back with parents and feeding well. It was a good call to remove it as it had muck in its eyes and could not see well, that is all cleared up now and we hope for two nicely balanced full grown Steller's in about four months. The young Griffon Vulture is now huge!!! Its doing well and the parents are very attentive, it is just about standing and can easily be seen from outside the aviary. The 1st Verreaux's Eagle chick is growing well and being cared for beautifully by mum and dad, the 2nd chick has just gone to a friend's place to be reared by their female Golden Eagle, and it too is doing well. The African Fish Eagles have two eggs, well now they have two dummy eggs and their eggs are in the incubator, one looks good the other one is difficult to tell, but I guess the male did finally get it right. They have reared a Tawny Eagle chick before so their baby or babies will be going back with them. I am really hoping they are successful as I am looking forward to flying one if they are.
The Turkey Vultures are on eggs, and have been seen mating so fingers crossed, the Hooded Vultures have laid again, their first egg was fertile but did not hatch, we are hopeful for this one. We had to split up the Palmnut Vulture as they were fighting - again. The Lanners have all laid and even the Barbary Falcon has laid as have both pairs of Sakers, so we wait to see what is fertile in that lot. The luggers laid five eggs, but sadly all five were clear, however it was their first time and much later than expected. Even the Brahminy Kites have laid, although we do not expect them to be fertile. So all in all plenty is happening on the breeding front.
We have a special opening of the new Hospital room on Saturday, I hope the weather is OK, as it could be a good day. It is the start of the school holidays as well.
We don't know if Shasta is in pup yet, I am going to have her tested, I have enough vet bills right now and it won't change anything anyway! Either she is or she isn't and if she is that will be a lovely time to have puppies.
Sedge is well in himself, he had swimming on Monday and Wednesday, a friend came over and tried some electrical impulses on him to see if we could get a muscle reaction. The machine was not working properly but his left leg did react. He had laser treatment today and swimming tomorrow!!  If you google Orthpets and click on KerDog, you will see a video of a young French Bulldog that was in the same state as Sedge, the KerDog helped him and we are going to try one on Sedge, it should arrive next week. Stone me we are throwing the book at him. His diarrhoea is a little better, and I had to put cream on his little willie because it stays out a lot of the time, the only thing I had was my highly expensive face cream - battling the seven signs of aging!!! It worked a treat, so he will have a very young looking willie. I have moved him onto E45 now!!
Its the school holidays on Friday, so here is hoping for huge attendance, and great weather up to and over Easter.


I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Website counter