A day at the Hawk Conservancy Trust (or how I rediscovered a long lost love) Part 1
Ever since my new found, old love of birds of prey was reignited by the Hunters of the Sky demonstrations at Longleat, I had been excitedly waiting for this visit to the trust to come around.
I have sat through many of the Conservancy’s shows at Longleat, and since I was moved to tears by my first one, I have been inspired, educated and entertained each time I go. I’ve ducked dive bombing vultures and had goose bumps watching a falcon’s stoop. I’ve had the hairs on my neck stand up when the kites are released and I have been hit on the head with the wing of a Milky Eagle Owl. So now, rather like an Eagle’s beak, I’m kind of hooked.
Being the over thinker I have come to know and love, I began to wonder what it is about birds of prey that reach the places a pigeon or magpie just can’t quite touch. Where had it all started for me?
I remember as a child, whenever my dad and I went out together, he would point out to me the birds of prey we saw. The Kestrels, Kites and Buzzards were as much a part of our walks as the dog by our side and the rolling hills of Wiltshire. I became enthralled with birds of prey. There is something exciting about a powerful and slightly scary creature that uses such skill to soar, stoop and ultimately dispatch their meals with the greatest deadly accuracy.
There is something magical about a bird in flight that, for me, conjures up those magical childhood dreams of flying. It taps the shoulder of my inner child and invites her to play in those innocent memories, standing on top of a hill, arms outstretched, being nudged and swayed by the breeze, closing your eyes and just hoping that this time you might be able to take off and soar and view the world from the eyes of a bird. Those birds of prey have the monopoly on beautiful flight.
But somewhere along the journey of growing up, I lost that. I had forgotten that I loved birds of prey – that seems odd to say now. A few years ago I was asked if I wanted a bird of prey experience day for a birthday gift, but I said no, thinking I had probably grown out of it, much like my desire to collect ornamental pigs!
And yet, here I am, with my ‘heart in hiding, stirred for a bird*’ and really loving it!
*From the Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Posted on July 28, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged birds, Birds of Prey, childhood dreams, Days out in Hampshire, Days out in Wiltshire, family days out in wiltshire, Hawk Conservancy Trust, Longleat, love, Raptors, review. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.