Saturday last week we had a family celebration and we decided to take the whole family to see some raptors at the sanctuary close to Plettenberg Bay! And I don’t mean dinosaurs but the slightly smaller cousin: birds-of-prey. Ha.ha. ;) The day was overcast with a light drizzle so this seemed like the perfect thing to do that even a 4-year-old child can enjoy.
The birds were about to come out to play just as we entered the premises. There were a handful of other visitors and we joined them on the open air benches.
Mark welcomed us all and told us a little bit about the background of the birds that we were about to see. Some of them had been raised as pets and some had been injured in the wild prior to coming to the sanctuary. The injured wild birds still regarded themselves as wild and over time could be returned to nature, but the pets now regarded themselves as humans and therefore would need to be looked after by humans for the rest of their lives.
There was no net, no cage around us, and the animals could have left at any moment never to be seen again… except they didn’t. They flew over our heads, sometimes so close that you could feel the air move your hair! They swooped in for the “prey” (bits of food) they were offered, and would fly off into the trees again.
We were given the opportunity to have a barn owl and spotted eagle owl sit on your gloved hand and even the popular falconry Harris’s Hawk which could only be held high above your head. The flying display included the barn owl, spotted eagle owl, Harris’s hawk, jackal buzzard and the small but fast rock kestrel.
These birds are incredibly beautiful and the work this sanctuary does to help birds is definitely worth supporting. They rehabilitate and release those birds that will survive in the wild and they provide food, shelter and love for those that would not.