A few weeks ago, Martyn spotted a promotion for a bird of prey display that was to take place in a park fairly near to us. What was more the advert stated that there would be the opportunity to handle some of the birds.
We are always up for this sort of opportunity and even had the chance to fly a barn owl some time ago.
Regular visitors may remember (or maybe not) that last year we had the chance to handle another barn owl and a kestrel.
Both birds were incredibly light being more feather than anything else.
This time the first bird that we had the chance to handle was a peregrine.
Peregrines are our fastest flying bird reaching speeds of up to 60 mph in level flight and maybe up to 200 mph when in a dive.
The peregrine weighs about twice as much as a barn owl.
It's a beautiful bird and it was a treat to get up close to one.
Pigeons are a major prey item which is maybe one reason that peregrines have taken to city life. A pair of peregrines have nested on the tower of Wakefield cathedral for two years now to the detriment of the feral pigeons that strut about in the precinct below.
I wonder whether any of their offspring will travel to our allotment site and control our wood pigeon population.
At end of the afternoon, the peregrine was put through its paces.
Having caught the lure it wasn't at all keen to relinquish its prize.
Also at the display was another UK bird of prey - the red kite. This bird wasn't offered for handling. Maybe its expression says it all.
This individual was moulting and so didn't have the pronounce forked tail that identifies red kites in flight. There is now a self sustaining population of red kites in Yorkshire.
Believe it or not, however, there are some individuals that thinks it is a sport to kill them!
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ you may remember seeing a photo of the other bird that we handled. Although this bird isn't one of our native birds, I'll share her photo again here.
This hooded vulture was a heavy bird. Hooded vultures weigh in at 1.5–2.6 kg (3.3–5.7 lb) so the lightest of these birds weighs over three times as much as a peregrine.
PS I've just realised that I missed my own 10th blog anniversary on 30 August. How careless is that? So just a quick thank you to everyone who follows my blog whichever way you choose and special thanks to everyone who takes the time to comment so that I know someone is out there!