A Bird In The Hand

My day-to-day life is already filled with butterflies and last week I shared with you that I learned in depth about Bees on the first part of our visit to California.

What’s could be next?

Birds?

Abso-freaking-lutely.

Kelly signed us up for a Falconry experience. At first, I thought she only signed up the guys for it and I thought that was appropriate. Men and Birds Of Prey go together like wine & cheese peas & carrots.

I was so glad that she included us in this as well as it might have been my favorite part of our entire 9 days in California. I’ve done some really cool things in my life, but this was right up there with helicoptering over the Blue Hole in Belize, but with birds who flew and I stayed on the ground.

Maybe, it was nothing like that, but the WOW factor was 100% there.

CUE THE BIRDS

The Master Falconry Guy was so interesting. He was very serious about his birds and educating us on his birds and how WE as humans have made their lives worse, but he was also very funny. He had to poke at us, the only non California people in the group. Again with the Florida jokes?

In case you were wondering, I did have a bajillion questions for him.

I did not know that there was a time where birds of prey had a bounty on their heads and were hunted by humans. Their numbers declined SO much and it took years and years for them to come back up when humans realized they are an integral part of our ecosystem. Of course, then DDT was introduced and they were being poisoned. WTH people?

I’m trying to remember all the birds he shared with us, we were able to get an up close and personal meeting with each of them. A great horned owl, The Peregrin falcon, (it can fly up to 300mph) a red tailed hawk, a Saw Whet owl, (which was adorable) American Kestrel (also adorable) and a Harris’s Hawk. I feel like I’m forgetting a few. I didn’t photograph each one as I was really trying to be present and take it all in.

The great horned owl was amazing; he was able to channel his inner Exorcist by spinning his head around. While the Coach had his hand up to him, he quickly took his sharp ass beak and started to close down on his fingers. Coach was cool as a cucumber, stayed still and the bird changed his mind and did not crush his fingers.

Later on, the Falconry expert shared a story about when This Very Owl was spooked and clenched his beak on the hand of one of his friends almost crushing bones until he felt comfortable again. Ummm….could you have told us this 10 minutes ago? I’d like my husband to have both of his hands working. How else can he cook, do dishes and massage my back?

At the end of his presentation which was almost 2 hours we were able to release and recall this lovely Harris’s Hawk. OMG. I wanted to do this all day long. He would take off and it looked like he was never coming back. You can see there were some buzzards in the area too, but he paid them no attention. I think he knew he was Regal compared to them, although we all know buzzards have a special place in our ecosystem too.

{In case there was a buzzard reading this, I didn’t want them to feel bad}

Our falconry expert released Ariel (the Hawk) and then we took turns going up and letting him land on us, then release for the next person to be there when he came back.

I was able to capture the Coach on Ariel’s return
Suz releasing Ariel after gracefully accepting his return from the Coach’s release.

You guys, this hawk stared so deeply into my eyes when he was on my arm that for a second, I thought he was trying to steal my soul and fly off with it. Who would I be if I were soul-less?

This was such an educational, exciting and beautiful experience that I encourage anyone who has this opportunity to seize it! Just don’t go losing your soul to any of the creatures.

You know I walked away from this thinking I could add an owl or small falcon to my menagerie; I mean, I don’t think birds of prey would harm my baby dolphin. Right?

Has anyone had an experience like this?

XOXO

26 thoughts on “A Bird In The Hand

    1. I feel very fortunate to have experienced this.
      I know those large birds can pick up dogs and cats; we never leave Lillie out without one of us watching her ‘like a hawk’. I do have hawks in my yard and I’m not taking any chances.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What an awesome experience! I’m jealous, but so glad you got to do something like this and that you appreciated it so much. Raptors/birds of prey are truly incredible and singular species that are often so misunderstood.

    I absolutely get what you mean when you shared a moment looking into its eyes. They have a certain nobility and pride. I wonder if it’s because they can fly so high above us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. So cool. We saw a birds of prey presentation when we were in Vancouver – after we hike a mountain. It was raining, so that was a bummer, but at that point I was just happy I hadn’t slipped on the wet rocks and fallen down the mountain on our hike up. We didn’t get so up close to the birds as it was more of a group presentation, but still really fun to learn about them.

    I look forward to photos of you and your baby dolphin in your pool with a few sweet birds hanging pool side. Dreams can come true, right?

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  3. Bijoux

    No, we had a chance to do something similar at the Greenbrier years ago, but chose other activities. Honestly, I would be worried I’d freak out the bird with my scared reactions. I’m a jumpy person under normal circumstances. But I do love big birds and would have enjoyed learning about them from a distance. Thanks for posting the videos.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, believe it or not, at our last home in Toccoa, the saddle club property was at the end of our street and One day John got to experience this with a guy who had been given permission to use the property. John had been walking Theo and was invited to participate, so even the dog got to see but not me!!! Lol. John kept Theo zipped inside his coat and said Theo never flinched a muscle! Thx for sharing the awesome photos and videos. Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that is so cool. I wonder what birds John was able to witness. You would have loved it too; the birds are so beautiful and they have such a presence about them.

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  5. nicoleboyhouse

    THIS LOOKS AMAZING. So here’s the thing, next time you go on a trip like this I am going to just come with you, okay? OMG THIS IS SO FUN. I love owls! Birds are fascinating and kind of scary, this is so cool! I’m glad you had fun.

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