Showing posts with label Falconry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Falconry. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Visiting a FALCONRY CENTRE

A Harpy Eagle in falconry.
A Harpy Eagle in falconry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Different people like to spend their leisure time in different ways. When you get to take some time off your regular schedule, you plan to spend it in the most memorable and enjoyable way. While some like to party, some others like to spend their time with nature. If you are looking forward to spending a peaceful and beautiful vacation, then you can consider visiting a well-maintained falconry centre. If you have a love for animals and nature, then this place can be surely engaging and enjoyable for you. Falconry is the art of training falcons to hunt and return.

When you switch on to the wildlife channels, you get to know about the survival and existence of various kinds of animals and birds in the world. But not many people can think of actually experiencing this adventure in person. Today, there are several companies which give you a chance to have the experience of visiting such bio-diversity centres and have a close encounter with nature and wildlife. If you are looking for some exciting activities in Cumbria, then do not forget to check out the predator experience. Basically a restricted falconry centre, it is sure to leave you with wonderful and memorable experiences with raptors and owls.

Situated in the Lake District National Park, this falconry centre has amazing activities which are truly worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime. The main motto of the centre is to protect the biodiversity within the natural world. However, they are not open to all the casual visitors. You need to make your booking in advance to visit this falconry centre. You will be amazed to know the activities offered by this centre. You can browse through their site to know the availability of various activities, the prices they charge per visitor and to get other such details. Visiting this falconry centre will be definitely an inspiring and peaceful experience for you.

If you have a love for birds like eagles and owls, then you sure have to visit this falconry centre. 'Eagle experiences' is one such activity where you are allowed to spend quality time with various species of eagles and owls under the guidance of professional trainers. This can be the ultimate experience with most of the endangered eagle and owl species. However, children below the age of eighteen are restricted to participate in this activity. You can indulge in a full day activity or you can make your booking as an observer. The charges depend on your bookings at the falconry centre.



If you are looking for activities for your entire family, you can go for hawk walks. This is the best way to experience the stunning countryside and woodlands of Lake District National Park. It is suitable for all the members of your family. The amount of money they charge depends on the amount of time you want to spend. You can visit their site to know about more falconry activities and the charges. So, go ahead and make your bookings to spend some quality time.



Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Amazing Characteristics of FALCONS

Peregrine Falcon, (Red-capped Falcon) Falco pe...
Peregrine Falcon, (Red-capped Falcon)
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

Falcons are amazing predators and in my opinion the most spectacular aerial predator in the world. They are not the strongest amongst birds of prey, but their hunting tactics are truly remarkable. There is a reason that fighter jets are designed after falcons. It is not just the amazing speed, but also the way they are able to turn at g-forces that would kill a human being.

There are many types of falcons throughout the world and North America. The most commonly found in North America are the Prairie Falcon, American Kestrel, Merlin, Gyr Falcon, and the infamous Peregrine Falcon. Kestrels hunt in a different fashion and do not use diving techniques. The Peregrine is the most well known for its speed and hunting ability. In my opinion, the Gyrfalcon, although larger is as fast as the peregrine.

Falcons mainly prey upon other birds, such as ducks, pigeons, grouse, etc... They fly high in the sky far above their prey and when ready to pursue, go into an incredible dive. In the dive, they turn in a corkscrew fashion after their prey. Even though the fastest way from one point to the other is a straight line, the falcon dives in this way to keep its eye on its prey. The reason is their eyes are placed more on the side of their head, instead of looking straight forward like humans. They have long narrow wings built for speed and a long narrow tail built for amazing turning capability. They strike their prey at incredible speeds in mid-air, sometimes the one strike is all it takes to kill. If not the falcon will gain altitude again quickly and strike again and again. They are also well known for chasing their prey down after the initial strike. They sometimes hit with their feet and talons open and sometimes with their feet closed making a fist. Either way is enough to make a lethal blow to its prey.

The Peregrine Falcon has been documented diving at speeds at 232mph. This 2-pound bird has been known to take prey as large as a 9-pound sage grouse, the largest game bird in North America. In the falconry world, falconers breed falcons for hunting purposes. The popular Falcon to breed is a hybrid, a bird that is half peregrine and half Gyrfalcon. Many falconers like to use male birds because of their tenacity, the problem is the males are smaller than females and are not large enough to take down the popular sage grouse. This hybrid bird is perfect for sage grouse hunting, they get the large size from the Gyrfalcon and the tenacity from the peregrine falcon. These hybrids are usually the size of a female peregrine but have the personality of a male.

The peregrine falcon seemed to be doomed to extinction because of a chemical pesticide, called DDT that farmers used on their crops. Finally, the US banned DDT and since then the peregrine, along with many other species of birds have made a full recovery. The peregrine is common and will even build their nests on ledges of a giant building that resemble a cliff in big cities. Watch high in the sky for this amazing predator that is truly the jet fighter of the bird world.




Tuesday, February 27, 2018

FALCONRY History




Monday, January 29, 2018

The PEREGRINE FALCON - The Teflon Bird of Prey

Peregrine Stretching Wings
Photo  by jkirkhart35 
"Look up! It's a bird.....It's a plane......It's The Peregrine Falcon!" Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Superman was a fictitious character, as was Humphrey Bogart in the Maltese Falcon, and although very popular and very entertaining, was no match for a real, super bird called the Peregrine Falcon. 

This creature is one of the most powerful and fast-flying bird there is. The Peregrine Falcon probably has one of the longest migrations of any bird in North America. Covering as much as 15,500 miles in one year over two different continents, spanning North and South America, hence the meaning of the falcon's name, "wanderer" or the scientific name of "Falco pereginus."

This is an incredible flier! You will find that these Falcons are averaging 25-34 miles per hour in traveling flight and as fast as 69 miles per hour in direct pursuit of prey with a hunting stoop from heights of over .62 miles! I don't even know if a Geo Spectrum could cruise at that speed. After reaching speeds of 200 miles per hour, they will drop toward their prey and kill it by biting into the neck of a passing songbird, duck and occasionally bats. OUCH!!! These falcons are so acrobatic, they can even catch their prey in mid-air. What a feat!!!

The Peregrine Falcon's habitat is comprised of every continent in the world save Antarctica and on many oceanic islands making them one of the most widely distributed species in the world. What proof is there that shows the durability of this bird? It has been proven that the falcon can survive in a wide range of areas of habitat to include: urban cities, deserts, the tundra and the tropics. They remind me of people who live in the state of Maine and then travel to Florida in the winter because the Peregrine Falcon will migrate super long distances from where they reside in the winter, to their summer nesting areas on the globe. Who knows? They may have even bought into "Time Shares."

Have you ever been in a big city and see an image of a hawk or eagle on a skyscraper? There is a stark parallel to real habits of these falcons that are illustrated high atop those buildings. For instance, Peregrine Falcons have done a great job in adapting to living in many of our cities in the United States of America. They have the ingenuity to make use of tall skyscrapers and buildings that have suitable ledges for nesting. They display their desire for cuisine variety in their meals by making use of their neighbors, the pigeon, and starlings, in the cities for their food supply. What a tasty and scrumptious treat for these Teflon birds.


These Peregrine Falcons are very intelligent and trainable also. This has always been one of the most prized birds amongst men. People have used and trained these birds for hunting, as well as message carriers. In 1940, the Federal Government issued an order to cull these Peregrine Falcons bringing about the death of 600 birds. One reason may have been because in the second World War, the armed forces used over 200,000 homing pigeons as message carriers which were also on the menu of these falcons. This was part of the reason for the decline in these fabulous birds. Populations began a rapid decline from 1950 - the 1970's because of DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl-trichlorethane) poisoning. This poisoning effected The Peregrine Falcon eggs, causing thinning and making them susceptible to breakage during incubation. Not to mention other birds of prey such as the Golden Eagle and the Great-horned owl would occasionally kill peregrine falcon chicks. At this point, they made the Endangered Species list and by 1970 extensive efforts were made to reestablish the birds' population. Man driven efforts to breed the Peregrine in captivity began to make a difference to this almost "down for the count" bird. This is why we consider them the "Teflon" bird of prey. They have made an awesome come back. By 1999, the peregrine falcon finally made it off the Endangered Species list.

As we have seen in part, with the aide of man the peregrine falcon almost became extinct and with the aide of man the peregrine falcon has made a tremendous comeback. Let us all be aware and continue to be part of the solution in taking part in the preservation of this "Teflon" survivor. Watch them soar, watch them hunt, watch them perch in their natural habitats. The history of this falcon is one you can share with your children and grandchildren for ages to come.




Friday, January 5, 2018

A History of FALCONRY

Medieval people engaging in falconry from hors...
Medieval people engaging in falconry on horseback. The horses appear to have the body type of palfreys or jennets. from the Codex Manesse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Falconry is training birds of prey to hunt game. Falconry is also known as hawking, despite the fact that in falconry today buzzards are usually used.

It is thought that falconry was established in the Middle East by 2000 BC although the earliest evidence of falconry has only been found from about 700 BC.

There are references to Caesar using falcons to kill pigeons so we know that the Romans practiced falconry and it was most likely introduced to Europe in about 400 AD.

Falconry is known as the sport of kings and many Kings of England have proclaimed it their favorite sport including Alfred the Great and George III.

Much has been written about King John and crane hawking. He used to bring hunting parties to fly falcons at herons which were ringed prior to being released back into the wild. Information about these herons can be found in the Domesday Book.

During the Middle Ages laborers would also participate in falconry, usually illegally and King John banned people from taking a game from the Royal Forests in order to improve the game caught by his own hunting parties.

He made a law that a hundred peasants should be fed with the catch from every Royal hunt but the law would still have caused much suffering.

A custom in the Middle Ages known as the Laws of Ownership meant that birds of prey were all assigned a rank and nobody could hunt with a bird that had a higher rank than him. The original Laws of Ownership was written in the Book Of St Albans in the 15th century.

Nowadays anyone can practice falconry in the UK and no license is required although only captive-bred birds can be used. Despite pressure to have falconry banned it has been allowed to carry on albeit with a number of conditions attached to it. Birds must be ringed and government registered and DNA tested to certify their origins and wild birds may not be used for falconry

    By Anna Price
    If you would like to learn more about falconry then you may be interested in birds of prey day where you can try out the sport.
    This article was written by the author of British Bird Lovers.
    The author is a keen gardener and amateur bird watcher.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The PEREGRINE FALCON

Peregrine Falcon, (Red-capped Falcon) Falco pe...
Peregrine Falcon, (Red-capped Falcon) Falco peregrinus babylonicus Sclater (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The peregrine falcon is the best-known falcon and most widespread in the world. However, if you travel to North Dakota, you won't see many and you will not find any at all in Antarctica.

This falcon was on the endangered species list back in 1970 because of a problem with eggshell thinning that was caused mainly by use of the pesticide DDT during the 1950s and 60s. It took biologists 20 years to figure out that the pesticide used to protect plants from insects was the problem affecting these birds and other animals. Small animals ate the plants contaminated with the pesticide, and when the peregrine falcon hunted those animals, the infected flesh poisoned them. The chemical even changed the behavior of peregrine falcons in that it made them stop caring for their young.

The federal government banned the use of DDT in the United States; however, the recovery process took a while because the chemical residue remained in the environment. Other countries which are home to peregrine falcons still use DDT, and that, along with trapping and shooting by poachers, still cause the bird's population to decrease. Today the endangered list still includes the peregrine falcon, and they are gradually increasing in population.

The peregrine falcon is not a very large bird; it is about the size of a crow. It is identifiable by its dark blue to slate-colored back and its white throat. It also has a black teardrop right under its eye and small black sideburns.

Peregrine falcons hunt at dawn and dusk; they will prey on ducks, pigeons, other birds and small mammals. They search for their prey from the air, and when they spot something to eat, they attack, making a sharp loud territorial call. They will swoop down at an incredible speed, up to 200 miles per hour, which makes this the fastest creature on earth. When they target their prey falcons use their talons to strike a severe blow to the creature to eat on the spot or to carry away to their eyrie.

Peregrine falcons are normally cliff dwellers which build their nests far out of reach of people. However, you can find some in cities on top of high buildings. Researchers who study these birds help them with city nesting; they supply certain buildings with leaves and other materials which the Falcons can use.

The peregrine falcon can be found all over the world. Just look out for a bird the size of a crow with dark sideburns, yellow legs and pointed wings when in flight. Hunting permitted with a camera only.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

The FERRUGINOUS HAWK

The male ferruginous hawk is quite large; however, the female is a bit larger. Ferruginous hawks have rusty colored feathers on theirs wings and their legging feathers. Most live in the western Great Basin and Great Plains. They are excellent fliers that know how to soar in the sky for a long time. 

Ferruginous Hawk flying near Cambria, San Luis...
Ferruginous Hawk flying near Cambria, San Luis Obispo County, California, USA.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

Ferruginous hawks also stay in uncultivated pastures on prairies and grasses in western North America, however they spend most their time in arid and semiarid grassland regions. Ferruginous hawks avoid high elevations, forest interiors and places like narrow canyons and cliff areas.

During 1900, ferruginous hawks nested though south and central Alberta, but in 1980, the ferruginous hawk was designated threatened. Today it is still designated vulnerable by the Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the population has declined in most areas in the US except California. The main reason for their endangerment is the disappearance of native short grass that hawks use for hunting.

Ferruginous hawks like to hunt gophers, however hawks in Alberta eats mice and white-jack rabbits. Hunting generally occurs in the early morning and the late afternoon. They can attack from short distances and strike prey on ground, use aerial hunting from about 300 feet, or just fly after prey from a perch. They do not hunt very well on croplands because their large wings and size prevent them from effective manoeuvre among grains on the ground.



Hawks build their nest in trees including cottonwoods, willows and swamp oaks along the waterways. which occurs in mid March in Colorado and Kansas but they will nest on the ground if necessary. The male hawk collects most of the material such as grass, twigs, old bones and crow or horse dung, while the female arranges it into a nest, which they use year after year. They lay their eggs between February and July and their nest usually contains three or four white eggs.



(Original Title: Birds - The Ferruginous Hawk)




Sunday, June 11, 2017

OWLS in FALCONRY Today

This article will present the common uses of owls in falconry today. There are about two hundred species of owls today which can be found throughout most of the world. One of the best-known species, the barn owl, is also one of the most widespread and in most areas kill more rodents than any other predator.

English: Gauntlet Bird of Prey Centre, near Kn...
Gauntlet Bird of Prey Centre, near Knutsford Closest I've ever been to a barn owl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Falconry and hawking were very common activities in most of the world until recently, being used for both sport and obtaining food. In Europe the goshawk was known as the "cooks hawk" because it could catch so many things for the table including rabbit, hare, pheasant, partridge, pigeon, grouse etc. Gyrfalcons were prized as the most fitting bird for an Emperor, a peregrine for a king, a merlin (because of its small size) for a lady. Eagles were used to hunt wolves in Siberia, Saker falcons to hunt gazelle in the Arabian deserts. The Saker would catch the gazelle and slow it enough for a saluki (a desert dog breed) to kill it. Falconry was a hugely popular sport with nobility and a vital activity for ordinary people.

The most common use of owls in falconry currently is in falconry displays for the public. Barn owls are always hugely popular birds with their gentle, beautiful flight and lovable nature. Barn owls are also common in most areas and relatively easy to care for making them an ideal candidate for falconry shows. They are also one of the most suitable birds of prey to be used for giving audience members the experience of holding a bird of prey on their fist. The beautiful slow flight of a barn owl gives the audience much more chance to see a bird of prey up close while flying than the fast flight of a falcon which might only be in view for a few seconds as it zooms by.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dromoland Castle - FALCONRY, Archery, And Family Fun

Five years ago - Oct 2011to be exact - I had this great idea to go on a Mediterranean Cruise with Tedd. We were spending the afternoon at Paumanok Wineries in Aquabogue, Long Island, drinking some great wine, eating some cheese, while the girls were running and playing with the children of other patrons. On a short walk to the little girls' room, I spotted a brochure for a a Mediterranean Wine Tasting Cruise. 

English: Dromoland Castle. Dromoland, one of t...
Dromoland Castle. Dromoland, one of the finest luxury castle hotels in Ireland, offers a golf resort paradise where guests experience living like landed gentry.
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

At the time, both kids were younger (Kelsey, 4 and Gianna 7) and the word spontaneous was not really in my vocabulary. But I guess the wine and sunshine got the best of me, and I was 100% sure that this cruise should be a definite plan for us. Tedd was also under the affects of being completely relaxed (and a little buzzed) and was totally into it!! When I got home, brochure in hand, I immediately emailed the travel company for this tour and got all the details and was well on my way to selecting state rooms, and getting my passport number to put on the application when it hit me... and it hit me hard - I CAN'T LEAVE MY KIDS AND GO TO EUROPE FOR 10 DAYS! I think Tedd secretly felt the same way, so there ended our romantic, European Wine Tasting Cruise.

After a day or so of feeling blue and let down that my maternal instincts were so strong, the lightbulb went off - let's go to Europe with the kids! We had never taken them to Europe before, although it was on my agenda for the not too distant future; but I thought, maybe this was finally the right time to plan it. All of a sudden, I was excited again. But, where? I decided to just Google "best place in Europe to take kids" and lo and behold, Ireland popped up. I hadn't really thought much about Ireland as a destination. It was somewhere I knew I would visit, sooner or later, but, after some reading, I thought - "Why not now!" Something that caught my eye was a place called Dromoland Castle (pronounced DRUM-O-Land). I visited their website and must say, it was quite impressive!

I thought to myself, "imagine staying in a castle" - the kids would love it! I would love it! I studied their site for days - from the lovely welcome video with the horse and buggy and beautiful swans swimming; to the refurbished guest rooms, each with their own decorative theme; to the dining options onsite and of course, the plethora of activities offered, and I knew this was the place for our girls' first European trip. So, I planned the trip with my reliable travel agent, Stephen Slovenski for mid August 2012. JSYK, Dromoland has a very interesting history -much of which we would find out from our friendly buggy driver, Sean Kilkenny! More about our buggy ride with Sean, (and Paddy his horse) around the palatial grounds of this amazing castle later.

Lovely outdoor seating area at Dromoland
Our flight to Ireland was great and uneventful. The girls were wonderfully behaved and slept quite a bit. Getting through immigration and collecting our bags was a breeze. I was very taken, at the onset, with the friendliness of the Irish. Everywhere we went, from the airport to restaurants, to tourist attractions, they were the nicest and warmest people I had ever encountered while traveling.

We arrived at Dromoland unscathed, considering, Tedd was driving on the opposite side of the road. We had no choice about taking the extra car insurance when renting our car, as it was the rental company's policy to do so... and it's a good thing we did! But you'll have to read on to find out why. Upon our arrival at the Castle, we were greeted as if we were long lost family of the staff. I never felt so at home in a foreign country before. Our room was not ready, so we were invited to go down one of the hallways, where a full continental breakfast buffet was on display outside the main dining area. The walls of the hallway were lined with small tables and chairs and a small parlor area at the end of the hall had more tables, chairs and couches for sitting comfortably to enjoy our much wanted pastries, fruit and cheese. This room felt very medieval with it's mismatched furniture, high ceilings and decorations on the wall. The kids were all excited (and so were Tedd and I) that we had wifi - so we immediately emailed and imessaged the gang at home (my parents and sister Danielle and daughter Rebecca) that we were safe and sound! This lovely lounge room led down to a sweet and welcoming outdoor eating court, which we sat many a morning, with a cup of tea and coffee, before starting our day.

Our room was finally ready at around 1pm and what a gorgeous room it was!! Decorated in the most welcoming shades of light blue and rose, it looked like a picture out of a decorating magazine. We had two full beds, along with a sitting area, a nice sized table, a desk and a flat screen tv. The bathroom was luxurious as well, with marble countertops and a large shower/tub. The kids had a great time taking pictures of the room! We also had an incredible view from our room of a lovely lake. You could hear the clippity clop of Sean's buggy early in the morning and throughout the day, as he took guests on tour rides around the grounds of Dromoland. I need to mention that although it was mid August, it was not at all hot and humid. Quite the opposite. It was cool and even a little chilly and in spite of the great amount of rain that we experienced, there was not much humidity at all. In fact, the hotel did not have air conditioning and it didn't need it either. A small fan on the table facing the beds, with the windows open, did the trick!

The grounds of Dromoland were absolutely gorgeous! Tons of flowers and picturesque garden settings. It's no wonder this is a popular wedding reception location. A short walk from the main castle and guest rooms, through the gardens and a long arbor, is the spa, followed by the restaurant. The food was very good - I was a big fan of the pureed soups and brown bread! I even downloaded a recipe for Irish brown bread (which I've yet to make, of course). Both girls noticed right away how the portion sizes were smaller than what they were used to in the States. Of course, we all agreed that there is no need for such large portions and it was nice to see both of them finish the meal they ordered because it was appropriately sized.

As with all my trips, I had a full itinerary of activities and local sites to see fully planned. Dromoland offered many of these activities including falconry, archery, golf, fishing, clay shooting and more. The falconry and archery interested us most and both of which were completely new to us! As soon as I read on the Dromoland site that they had falconry, I was completely excited. I had only seen this in movies and on television. It sounded so exotic and I could not wait! The first day we arrived, we saw the instructors from the Dromoland School of Falconry on the front lawn, beginning their overview and lesson with other guests and right there front and center, was one of the birds from the school. This little guy's name was TJ. It was quite an education the morning we spent out and about with TJ, the Harris Hawk, and our Instructor. Falconry is the term for using a trained bird of prey to hunt or catch game. The person who flies the "falcon" is called a Falconer. So we were getting a lesson in being falconers! Today, in modern falconry, the Red-tailed hawk and the Harris hawk are more commonly used rather than falcons. Just alittle trivia for you - Falconry is believed to date all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia, some 2000 years ago. So, there we were, the four New Yorkers, getting a lesson in early English falconry. It's amazing how enthusiastically these birds will fly to a welcome outstretched arm! In the hawk world, females are called "hawks" while the term for the males is "tiercel". The males are actually lighter, as they are a third smaller in size than the females. Our friend "TJ", though smaller than his female counterparts, was still a substantial bird to have landing on one of your body parts. I have to admit, it was alittle intimidating at first. Because of the bird's sharp claws, or "talons", it is necessary to wear a very heavy glove when having the bird land on your arm. Kelsey and Gianna looked very cute wearing the glove - it nearly covered their entire arms! Kelsey, only 5 at the time, was so brave and unafraid, and as you can see from the photo, this bird was quite large compared to her! Gianna, on the other had, took a while to warm up to the whole idea - but she came around.



We walked all around the grounds, especially through the forest area where we witnessed TJ soaring up into the trees and then flying at top speed to perch on either our instructor or on one of us, depending on who held out their arm. One time, TJ decided to perch on Kelsey's head - I didn't get a picture of this, since it was rather unexpected and unnerving to the kid. But, it didn't stop her from continuing with the art of falconry.

This experience was clearly one of the highlights of our trip to Ireland! The kids also enjoyed archery several times during our stay. For first timers, they were really good too! After signing up, we were, once again, connected with an instructor and were taught the basics of archery, including the proper way to hold and use a bow and arrow. The kids had a blast and talked Tedd into getting an archery set for them for our house out East.

Our fun didn't end here, there were tricycles, which we had a blast riding one evening, and of course, our horse and buggy ride with Sean Kilkenny and "Paddy" was truly a joy. Sean told us all about the history of Dromoland and lots of interesting tales about its owners through the years. The current castle building was finished in 1835, but the first building that was constructed here is believed to have been a tower house erected in the 15th or 16th century. Dromoland came to be the residence of eight generations of the O'Brien Family, and according to records, it appears that it may have also been occupied by other local Gaelic families, such as the McInerney family during the 16th Century. The translation of the name Dromoland is "Hill of Litigation" because its history is steeped in legal battles over ownership. Today, it has been host to a number of famous individuals including former President George W. Bush, Juan Carlos of Spain, Muhammed Ali and Bono, to name a few.

Now back to my rental car story. One day, we ventured out of the Dromoland grounds and decided to take a long drive to the Cliffs of Mohr. We had a great day - well up to a point! We stopped for lunch, we drove all around the Irish countryside, taking pictures and singing songs and listening "School of Rock" with Jack Black on the dvd player in the backseat for the 14th time and were looking forward to the famous site we were off to see. As we were traveling down a narrow road, which was par for the course on our little journey that day, I was feeling as if Tedd was driving extra close to the stone gates and walls of the residential property. Many of these homes had large garbage pails in the front and I felt myself leaning towards the right as we drove and came too close for comfort for my likings on the left side. I was just about to say "Ah Tedd, I think you are awfully close" when all at once B - O - O - M!!! we hit something. And it was loud!!! After the shock of hearing that loud sound wore off, I looked out the front passenger side window and could see that whatever we hit, we knocked off the side view mirror. I looked at Tedd and he was about to go on a rant about how "these @#$% roads are so @#%&*$ narrow" He didn't have much time to get angry when I can't even express the hysteria that overtook me and the girls. We could not stop laughing. So, bad that the tears were coming down my face. Tedd had no choice and began laughing too. For the rest of our Ireland trip, we could not look at that dangling mirror without cracking up. I guess the rental agents know what is possible when renting to foreigners who are not used to driving on the left side! (And just an aside - we did make it to the site seeing boat, dangling mirror and all; we got on, even though it seemed rather rough that day - and although the kids thought it was loads of fun getting thrown all around, Tedd was one of the unfortunate ones who felt the affects of the constant swaying and erratic movement. Green and sick is an understatement. So, for me, I decided to just look straight ahead at the horizon, to avoid the same fate, until this ride was over, and so we only got one photo on the boat ride!)

    By Elisa Levine
    All in all, our trip to Dromoland and County Clare, Ireland was amazing. It was fun, relaxing and full of new experiences for all of us!! (Stay tuned to hear about the next segment of our trip to Killarney. )

    Article Source: EzineArticles


Monday, March 13, 2017

EAGLES - The Birds of Prey

Eagles are birds of prey that have large wing spans and strong muscular legs. They also have very good eyesight. There are several species of this bird and most of them are distributed in Africa and Eurasia. With their relatively large wing spans they are able to fly very fast on straight paths. 

Adult
Adult (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Therefore, they are able to hunt their prey very effectively. They also have heavy beaks that will help them attack their prey. A large bird of this species could easily weigh 6 to 7 Kg.

It has been found that the eyesight of some of the eagles is 3.6 times better than humans. The large pupils of their eyes contribute a lot to this effect. It enables them to see their prey from a long distance. Normally, these birds choose elevated places to build their nests. The female bird which is larger than the male will lay two eggs. When one egg hatches the young bird will wait for the other to hatch and will kill it. Even the mother will not prevent it. This means only the strongest eagles will survive and the population of birds will be under control.

It has been found that eagles are among the largest of the birds of prey. However, there is no way to find the largest eagle for the simple reason that the heaviest one is not the one that has the biggest wingspan. The heaviest is the Steller's sea eagle and the one that has the largest wing span is the Philippine eagle. While the wingspan of a Philippine eagle could be 100 ft the weight of a Steller's sea eagle could be 15 pounds.

A falconer holding a Steller's Sea Eagle in th...
A falconer holding a Steller's Sea Eagle
Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
The smallest of the eagles is the Great Nicobar Serpent eagle. Its habitat is the forests in the South Nicobar Islands. The weight of one of these birds is just 1 pound. Due to loss of habitat, it is dwindling in numbers and is threatened species. It is the different lifestyles of these birds that decide their wingspans. Generally, the birds that inhabit forests have smaller wingspans. Birds of this species that live in open areas have relatively longer wingspans.

Only a very few species of birds of prey are larger than eagles with either wingspan or the weight. Condor is one of them. Also, there are a few other vultures that are larger than these birds of prey. They are majestic birds when they are on flight.