My journey began on a camping trip to the Thistledown campsite in Gloucestershire. On the second day of the camp we were surprised with a falconry experience. The first bird we met was Samara a beautiful peregrine falcon. The peregrine is the fastest animal on the planet and has been recorded at speeds of over 200 mph. To be able to fly at these great speed they have many unique adaptations:
- in the nostrils they have a bone, called the baffle, with which they are able to control the air intake. You don't want air going into your lungs at 200mph - they'd be ripped to shreds!
- they also have a complex respiratory system this includes 8 air sacs in addition to the lungs,
- a third clear eyelid called the nictitating membrane which stops air particles entering the eyes
- they also have pair of moustachial stripes that act as sunglasses and cut down glare.
After Samara we met and got to fly a Harris Hawk, JJ. We went on a woodland walk and JJ came swooping down to take pieces of day old chick that were place on my glove. It was wonderful to be so up close and handle the birds, you can't be much closer to nature than that!
|JJ - on my glove|
Last but not least we were introduced to Tony a Barn Owl. He is just about as white specimen as you will see, not a speck of colour on his chest. We learnt that they have asymmetric hearing which enables the to pin point exactly where their prey is, not only the distance but also how high it is. Another of there other weapons is silent flight: their feathers they have a trailing edge fringe which cuts out the sound. Their prey doesn't stand a chance of escaping!!
|JJ swoops in|
Thank you X