Thursday, January 19, 2017

Psst. There's a chatty video about this on my YouTube! Go like and subscribe!


2017 is my year of happiness. I am choosing to make this year more enjoyable, and much much more happier than 2016. One of the things that makes me the happiest girl, is spending quality time with my birds. It's something that can make me go from fuming anger, to blissful happiness in seconds! They're kinda addicting, I gotta admit!

As they are such a big part of my life, and they make me so happy! I thought I would make a little post about them, and I decided that I was also going to post a video talking about them! I'm kinda loving YouTube right now!


Alike in my video, I will be going up the garden as I talk about the birds!


1. Smokey - Dark Breasted Barn Owl
9 months

Smokey is to the left <- 
Dark Breasted (DB) Barn Owls are a lot darker than the typical Barn Owl - this might be different, depending on where you're from, I am talking mostly about the British Barn Owl - however, they have pretty much the exact same features. They still have the typical Barn Owl face, body, legs and even feet! The colour is the only difference. They are a subspecies of the Barn Owl. 

Barn Owls can be found on every continent apart from Antartica, and each one varies. You can find British Barn Owls, American Barn Owls, African Barn Owls, Black Barn Owls, White Barn Owls, Masked Owls (Australian subspecies), etc, etc. They're amazing creatures, built to perfection, and crazy creatures to work with. However much they are mental, they are my favourite 'Bird of Prey' to work with. 

Smokey is no different. She's stunning. She was originally creche reared (brought up with siblings) and we put two Barn Owls together. We got Smo at 4 weeks, and a British Barn Owl, Bandit at 3 1/2 weeks. They were a lovely duo, they kinda hated each other, but then you would catch them snuggling! Unfortunately, a week after we lost Bear, Bandit passed away. As they weren't housed together (we didn't want any surprise eggs!), I don't think Smokey is aware that he's not here anymore. I like to think that she knows, but she's so innocent that I don't want her to know. She is one of the shyest birds I've ever worked with, but when it's just me and her, she flies as much as she can, for as long as she can. She has instant recall, and is perfect. However, if I want to show her off in front of some people, she completely ignores me! 


2. Domino - European Kestrel
5 years

Kestrels are amazing little creatures, and Domino is definitely no exception! When driving, or walking in the country, watch out for the little bird hovering. That's a Kestrel. The males have a grey head and tail, with less black barring on the back, whereas a female will be mostly brown, with black barring over the back. The juveniles will also look like females.

I got Domino (Male Kestrel) mid last year, and it's one of the best choices I've ever made. For weeks before I got him, I was talking about wanting a little bird that I could train to the lure. I either wanted to try and get a Kestrel, or save a little and get a Merlin. 'Mino came at just the right time, and he was and still is perfect! He's so alert, loves the lure, yet it the kindest little thing ever! I've currently put him down to try and moult, but hopefully in March/April, I will be getting him back up and going! I will have to increase his fitness, as he is not close to where he was last September! He also wasn't flown for a couple weeks due to him getting some bumblefoot. It's quite common in Birds of Prey, and if caught early can be quite easy to treat. Luckily we did, and we found the problem for it. He's perfect now, and is back to his crazy self! It did cost a small fortune at the Vets, but he is 100% worth it, and I can't wait to see all the stuff we will do this year!


3. Owlando (Bubba) - Burrowing Owl

8 months

Burrowing Owls are not found in the UK, they are mostly from North America. We like to call them the 'Little Owl on stilts' - as they look similar to Little Owls, but with very long legs! They are awesome! They are tiny, only weighing around 5-7oz. As the name suggests, they burrow down into the ground (hence why they have long legs) and reside their most of the time, apart from hunting. They make some strange noises, and when they are young, they make a sound resembling a rattle snake, to warn off predators. They mostly run across the ground, but are still able to fly. 

Bubba is my everything! I was curious about getting a bird that small. I've worked with tiny birds before, but it still scares me so much! When we went to go get him, we connected instantly. I was the first one to hold him, and I cannot tell you just how scared I was! 

HE WAS TINY! Nothing will ever describe how small he was!

He's mental, yet the most loving thing ever! He knows I'm his 'Momma' and will run to be for safety! I'm currently training him to fly and run, and hopefully later in the 
year, he will be a pro at both! I do regret: One - not getting one earlier, I feel like I missed out on so much! He lights up my life so much. Also, two, that we only got him. I would have loved to raise two of them. They're crazy, mental, speedy, greedy little buggers, but they are quickly turning to be my favourite!


4. Louie - Harris Hawk

9 months

Harris Hawks are mostly from Southern US, to South America. They're very versatile creatures, and like to hunt in packs, guaranteeing a meal at the end of the hunt. They are known as the wolves of the sky. They are also known as the 'Beginners Bird for Falconry'. This is mostly due to how quickly they pick things up. They are very quick learners, and like to aim to please. They are also anywhere between 1lb 5oz to 3lb 4oz, so are quite a nice weight to work around. 

Louie is my first Harris Hawk. I introduced him in one of my YouTube videos, but I didn't get around to do a blog post of him! I will do that as soon as I can get some good pictures of him! He's perfect. He's exactly what I wanted! Although he is a bit talk-a-tive, he's brilliant! He flies around 1lb 10oz, so he's a pretty big boy!! If you want to see him fly around the garden, go check out all my latest vlogs! We've not had good weather for a while, so we've just been doing a little training in the garden, hopefully we'll get some good weather soon, and we can go out to the field and practice!


5. Remi - Red Tailed Hawk

1 1/2 years

Red Tailed Hawks are found in America, and are the typical falconer bird for the US. In some states, I believe that you are able to trap juveniles, and help train them to hunt. Unfortunately, I don't know of any of the rules in the US! I am following quite a few people who hunt with RTH's and they are brilliant! When Juveniles, they are lacking the red tail that the name suggests. It takes a year before that tail comes in, which then makes them very obvious to spot. I would compare them to the UK's Red Kites. They don't have such an obvious shaped tail, but the colour definitely shows! 

I got Remi when (s)he was 4 months, meaning he was parent reared. I was told this was the easiest way to train, unless you wanted a noisy, clingy hawk. He is my first RTH, and I love him! We've had our fair share of arguments, and I've always come out unscathed, but he is starting to recognise my importance and dominance again. When I put him down to moult, we didn't really have the connection that I wanted, so when I pulled him out, and tried to start working again, he hated me. We've taken our time, and we're getting there. He has got one eye, which I don't think he can see 100% out of, but he is doing well! Hopefully later this year, we will be flying free! Next year - hunting?


6. Tango - African Spotted Eagle Owl

5 years

African Spotted Eagle Owls are incredible. They are found in most Southern African countries. They make a very typical noise, 'wuhuhu-whooh' and it's my favourite noise at the moment! It can be quite hard to tell the difference between male and female. As with most Birds of Prey, the females weigh more. The females are also a bit darker than the males. They also have the very typical bright yellow eyes!

Tango is awesome! She's one of our originals, and I love her as if she is my daughter. (Technically, she's my first born ;)). She moults most of the year, so you will often find her feathers everywhere! She's the most gentle bird, she wouldn't ever do you any harm. Unless you were her dinner! Unfortunately, a couple years back, something happened to her, and we are still not sure to this day what it was. However, now, she is terrified of push chairs, prams, toddlers, babies, and anyone under the age of around 10. She is the perfect bird with everyone else, however detests being anywhere near children. She's currently sat at 'fat' weight, but when I bring her weight down to start flying her again, she always stick at 1lb 8oz. No matter what, that is her weight all throughout spring and summer! She's brilliant, she really is.


7. Scooby - Snowy Owl

4 years

Snowy Owls are as the name suggests, mostly from cold, snowy areas. They will spend most of the time, in the highest northern points of North America and Eurasia. During the winter, the immature males, will often migrate souther. They are typically shown as all white, however, that is only the males. Females and juveniles both have black barring across their bodies. Chicks are mostly grey bundles of fluff! They have quite a bad name for being aggressive - they are anywhere between 3lb to 6lb in weight! 

We got Scooby around 8 weeks, and she was instantly mine. She was basically a massive grey, fluffy (like the fluffiest thing) blob with two bright yellow eyes. She was mad, and I instantly fell for her. Later that year, I went away to Battlefields with my school, and as I was away for 5 days, someone had to cover feeding her and spending time with her. I was told that she became moody and was constantly sad. She became my little buddy, and she means so much to me. I've been through a couple bad years recently, and she's the one I always turn to. I sit with her, play with her, talk to her, everything, and it calmed me and helped me in so many ways. I will never be able to thank her enough for everything she has done for me. 

She can be mean though! Most of the time, she puts stereotypes to shame! She can be the loveliest owl ever. She will often cuddle with you, let you play with her feet, and give her a quick clean. However, she is a typical female, and has her time of the month. During that time of the month, she won't allow you to touch her, go in her aviary (without food), or go within 1 foot of her. She is mental! 


8. Tobi - Bengal Eagle Owl
4 years

Bengal Eagle Owls are (to me) mini European Eagle Owls. They can come in many various colourations, ranging from pale to the dark colours of a EEO. They are also known as Indian Eagle Owl or Rock Eagle Owl. They are mostly found around India, as the name suggests, and found in either rocky areas, or dense forests. They are a common bird used in Bird of Prey handling, as they weigh between 1lb and 3lb. They were originally classed as a sub-species of the European Eagle Owl, but recent studies have found the DNA to be different, making it it's own species. They have long black tufts, these are not ears! Their ears are in fact in the facial disk, and sit behind the eye. The tufts help them camouflage into their environment, and also show the birds mood. If threatened, they can raise them, if calm, they will be kept low. 

I got Tobi at the beginning of last year, and he has been fabulous. We've had our little arguments, and now we are slowly developing our relationship even more. Tobi came to me free flying, so I haven't had to do any training with him (unfortunately for me) apart from getting him used to me. He is a big version of Bear. He will do as I want him to, most of the time! He's always eager to fly, no matter his weight. Always wanting to impress me. If you watch my latest vlog, you will see the grace he flies with. He is stunning, and one of my favourites to fly. 


That's all my birds at the moment! They really are amazing birds, and make me strive to make myself better in this field. I want to be the best for them - they 100% deserve it!

Hoping that soon I will be able to get a new Barn Owl chick! Maybe two? 


Which one's your favourite? I'm still not sure!



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