African Bird of Prey Sanctuary -
26 Kids Club members were treated to an Outing at the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary in Cato Ridge near Pietermaritzburg. The day’s Programme included a Raptor on air display, where several rapors were “flown” to display bouyancy, speed, flight patterns and hunting technique; Vulture feeding and an inter-active environmental session taught our Kids about the technicalities of Raptor flight, hunting and feeding. Specimens were examined and handled – almost weightless feathers; feathered legs; large sharp talons, were viewed with interest!
One of the highlights of the day was having a Pale Chanting Goshawk searching for morsels of food which had been hidden near their feet. This required absolute stillness while the bird searched near toes and under feet! Two Owls were used to illustrate nocturnal hunting methods and effective camauflage – the Barn Owl and the Spotted Eagle Owl were observed close-up.
Tracking byTelemetry was explained by Ben Hoffman and a falcon was released to fly the skies! It returned safely and landed on Shannon Hoffman’s gloved hand. Falconry is an ancient art and is closely monitored by the official Falconry Association. They adhere strictly to SA Falconry Guidelines.
Each child went home with a pack which illustrated the relationship between the first pre-historic birds and their modern relations!
The Sanctuary has a Rescue Clinic run by Ben Hoffman and a Raptor On Air Display managed by Shannon Hoffman.The Complex has a Curio Shop and Coffee Shop too.
East Coast radio “borrowed” our Kids to form the letters ECR for the Radio Station’s promotion of Young Birders.