Kestrels away!

Kestrels Away

A couple of months ago, we described in our blog how three baby Kestrels had been brought in to us here at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary after the barn they were nesting in was demolished.  Conservation Officer Dean took them home to be looked after by his own captive bred female Kestrel Kaia.  It was hoped that she would teach them how to fend for themselves and I'm delighted to say that she did an extremely good job.  Last week Dean decided that they were well and truly ready to brave the outside world and so were duly released and are now living their lives as nature intended.
A Well Earned Rest
As you are probably aware, the Sanctuary hosts its spectacular flying displays from April throughout the summer, which not only provides excellent exercise for the raptors, but also gives visitors to the Centre a chance to see them in all their magnificent glory.  Throughout each display, the falconers give an informative talk about each bird, so it's also a great way to find out more about some of the world's most beautiful and fascinating creatures, as well as come to appreciate the continual need for raptor conservation. 
But contrary to the belief of many, the majority of species of birds of prey do not spend very much time in the air. In their natural state, raptors generally only fly when they are hunting, nest building or feeding their young.  By and large they are pretty sedentary and will spend the vast majority of their time roosting.  Just like any athlete, their trainers - in this case the falconers - need to keep a close eye on their fitness and well being and make sure that in fact they are not overworked. 
Throughout the flying demonstration season, the falconers will continuously monitor each member of the team and will make sure that if needs be, a raptor is returned to the aviary for a well earned rest, while another bird takes over.  Just recently, one of our real stars, Bali the Asian Brown Wood Owl was returned to his aviary as he had started to moult.  His place has been taken by Gollum, a five year old Tawny Owl who was bred at the Sanctuary in 2004.