‘Budgie Burger Anyone?’
Falconry is a huge, and growing, pastime recently detailed as the fastest growing country sport. It has its origins in mists of history, the first references appearing over two thousand years ago.
In modern times no longer are birds tools to supply food, and while they are employed by professionals for pest control and for wowing the public, many are no more than extended pets. Harris Hawks have become a favourite of novice and experienced owners alike. Originally from South America, Harris Hawks are efficient and deadly hunters whose instinctive skills, and formidable looks make them attractive to many a ‘macho’ wannabee falconer. While the birds can be easily trained, humans cannot, and this has led to a large number of Harris Hawks now being loose in the wild here in the UK.
Many quickly adapt, their keen instincts allowing them to hunt and survive. A number have had to be shot after they have started ‘hunting’ captive livestock. In some areas a number of birds may be forming groups, as they do in their natural habitat, and it can only be a matter of time before breeding pairs establish themselves.
We received a call from a local lady who reported a large bird of prey in her garden. On arriving at the address we found a Harris Hawk, obviously fairly young, stood atop an aviary full of Budgies! Obviously looking for an easy meal the Hawk was actively trying to get into the aviary while almost unflustered by any human activity.
Playing on the birds hunger, and the fact the bird had to some level been trained, it was lured with a morsel of meat, and indeed almost flew straight to the fist. As with all the birds of prey which come to the rescue it remains with us to live out its days.