Wednesday Walk Drakensberg Day Two - Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Center

lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018 · 4 min read

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Day Two - Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Center
Following on from last week's #wednesdaywalk hosted by @tattoodjay, I will share what we saw on day two of our walks in the Drakensberg, something we do not get to see in our day to day walks.

Situated in the Champagne Valley at Cathkin Peak, Drakensberg is Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Center, a very special place where injured raptors and large birds are rehabilitated. Sadly many of the injuries on these sky warriors have been inflicted by humans.

On walking into the grounds, we saw different birds of prey in cages, obviously still being rehabilitated - Peregrine Falcons, Martial Eagles, Crowned Hawk Eagles, Harris Hawks, Fish Eagle, Cape Griffon Vultures, Owls, Kites and more.

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This center puts on a breathtaking raptor show every morning showing off the strength, speed and intelligence of these large birds of prey.
It's quite amazing seeing them fly so high that they become almost invisible, yet they return with lightning speed when their handlers call them back.
We were told how they use the hot rising air to fly thousands of feet high, waiting for thermal pockets to take them up.

Birds of prey have excellent eyesight, it is said that they can see up to 2 kilometres far, therefore the saying watching like a hawk or eagle eyes. Interesting they have what is known as binocular vision so they're able to zoom into their prey. Further, because of their eye placement, they're able to determine the distance to their prey. They also bob their heads from side to side and in circles to calculate how close or how far their prey is.

When the birds are released for their daily flight at Falcon Ridge, some occasionally do not return, perhaps finding a mate or strong enough to go back to the wild.

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An interesting fact about the Spotted Eagle Owl is that it flies absolutely silent due to adapted feathers on the edge of its wing, it flew right above our heads but we could not even hear it.

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Fascinating to learn that bird of prey are still used in hunting today by falconers, and even kill large prey like deer and antelope using their speed, wings and the power of their claws and sharp beaks.

Also interesting to hear that the Fish Eagle hunts together with the Pointer dogs.

We were saddened to hear that some locals climb up to the birds' nests, steal their eggs, let them hatch and once they're fully feathered, sell them for pocket money to Sangomas (Witch doctors). The handlers explained that imprinting happens during the first fourteen days, so although Becky the Fish Eagle was rescued, she thinks she is human and will never be able to go back to the wild.

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Black eagles mate for life and produce one chick every winter. This particular black eagle was injured when young and decided that the female handler is his mate :)

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We walked away from this center full of wonder at the abilities of raptors and the work done by the handlers to rehabilitate these wondrous creature of the air.

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Later that afternoon, back at our chalet, we could feel the chill in the air and as night fell, we lit the fireplace and sat around it reminiscing on what we learned that day. Nothing better than putting your feet up, feeling the warmth of the fire and hearing the cracking of the wood fire.

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For those who would like to see a little more, I'm sharing a promotional video on Falcon Ridge Credit to Open Africa

I do hope you've enjoyed walking with me and seeing these creatures of the sky. We'd love to see what you come across on your walks, so join in the challenge but do check out @tattoodjay's Wednesday Walk challenge for the guidelines.

Original Content by @lizelle
Thank you for stopping by
Comments, upvotes & resteems all much appreciated :)
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Congratulations! This post has been chosen as one of the daily Whistle Stops for The STEEM Engine!

You can see your post's place along the track here: The Daily Whistle Stops, Issue 313 (11/15/18)


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

Thank you so much for your support @thesteemengine!


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

Thank you so much, really appreciate it:)


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@lizelle great post about great work and I've selected it as today's nomination for #teamsouthafrica.

Just a suggestion: why not enter this into @archisteem's travel challenge coordinated by @kimzwarch. She can perhaps comment with more information.


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

Thank you for the nomination and the suggestion, will check it out, much appreciated :)


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What a wonderful rapport you can feel between the birds and their handlers. Beautifully captured images of the birds and the spaces they adore to fly freely in @lizelle.

My brother hang-glides and has flown with the sea eagles along the coast here. Or rather they have flown alongside of him. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

Wow that's amazing @allyinspirit, must have been so special! We were absolutely enthralled by the rapport between them!


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Those birds look so majestic and powerful, nature you were surrounded with is lovely too 💚


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

We just love that part of the world and love seeing those birds of prey in action, it's truly exhilarating, thank you for your lovely feedback @zen-art!


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Amazing birds those are. Thanks for sharing.


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

They are truly amazing, it really was something I will never forget!


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Wow, just majestic birds. It is amazing, how powerful yet beautiful they are. What a wonderful tour, the scenery is breathtaking @lizelle!


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

Oh it was absolutely breathtaking my friend! The mountains are stunning and it's amazing seeing the rapport between the handlers and the raptors, really special. Thank you for your lovely feedback!


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Birds in rehabilitation finding the care required what a wonderful place to visit, seeing these birds is an amazing days outing @lizelle

Well documented content with lovely photography.


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Wow how lucky you were to see all these beautiful birds up close. That video of the owl was awesome :)


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

It really was a privilege, they are amazing, thank you for stopping by @gardeningchef!


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These birds are so majestic but I rather keep them far away from me :)


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lizelle
lizelle @lizelleNovember 2018

Haha don't blame you, they are powerful indeed. Children cannot go in to the area without adult supervision! Thank you for your support.


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