Arboretum with Window to the Wild…

Our son and his wife, founders of the non-profit company, Window to the Wild, had a few dates booked at the Arboretum with their birds.

We enjoy seeing them fly their feathered ambassadors and so made arrangements to pop down one Sunday after mass.

During rehearsals they had been pestered for trespassing by the local residents, mainly a Mockingbird.

Whenever Fiernan, their Harris’ Hawk, appeared the Mockingbird would go crazy, sending up warning cries, flying from branch to branch, mimicking the cries of angry crows and screeching like a jay alerting the neighborhood that a Hawk was in the vicinity.

On the day of the show Lindsey and Simon flew their hawk over the awe struck audience to land on a tall cactus-like hat perched on the head of a young audience member.



This is always a thrill for the participant!

Double thrill this day as Fiernan had to perform with an angry mockingbird pecking at his back.  Finally, after several interrupted flights, and completely unaware that he could turn and finish the rascal off, Fiernan retreated to the perceived safety of the nearby trees.

This un-rehearsed free-flight caused even more of a disturbance among the resident birds hiding out while the mockingbird went to battle.

Now the game of watch and wait began.  Simon stayed in the tree encircled space where the public were and Lindsey clambered through undergrowth to gain eye contact with her frightened raptor.  She was ducking dive bombers and holding out her hand as Fiernan climbed higher and higher into the trees.

Finally he caught sight of Simon, their gaze locked and he flew effortlessly onto his gloved hand and eagerly went home to his carrier with a fist full of  ‘meece’s pieces’!  (bits of dead mouse)

The thrill of live theatre; never a dull moment!

Gimli, their vulture, flew that day; he demonstrated the power in his slowly beating wings as he flew past the children sitting on the aisles, slowly swishing the air and ruffling their hair, making them squeal with delight.



One of their most beautiful birds, the distinctively marked African crested crane, almost a metre tall, elegantly walked up the grassy aisle following a trail of food,



“Remember,” said Simon, “that these birds live on the African Savanna and eat all day long!”

Her name is Tonks and she showed us that her size did not deter her from gracefully flying up to Lindsey and landing, almost at her feet for a reward.

The last bird to show off her ability to snatch food out of the air was their Hornbill, Athena.



Simon threw grapes far above his head for this majestic bird,



and each time she exhibited her ability to judge distance and speed accurately,



and catch it!  Every time!   Isn’t that amazing?

Photographs taken by @angiemoclarke


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