Welcome to the newest member of the team! This is Bob and he's a 9 week old Eurasian kestrel, which is a small species of falcon native to Britain. I am unbelievably excited to work with him as it's been a dream of mine since I was a child!
Bob was bred at the British Bird of Prey Centre in Wales, a wonderful centre dedicated to the education, flying and breeding of British native birds of prey. Bob is from a late second clutch of kestrels but very unusually was reared by a different species - a pair of Eurasian hobby's (another small falcon species native to Britain). These hobby's had unfortunately laid infertile eggs that they were continuing to try and incubate, so to reward their efforts they were given a kestrel egg to adopt which they successful hatched on 8th July '22. They then reared this eyass in isolation with minimal human contact. Once fledged and given time for the feathers to fully come through, it was time for the kestrel to be separated from his adoptive parents to begin his training.
On our arrival to collect him we were very lucky to witness the British Bird of Prey Centre's flying display which included Bob's uncle impressively hovering and beautiful Orchid the barn owl. It was then time to head over to the breeding facility for Bob's first encounter with humans! He was calmly removed from the aviary, giving his hobby parent's a well earned break, and we fitted his furniture (anklets and jesses) ready for the 4hr journey home. He travelled perfectly in the car, a little bemused but no serious stress.
Once home he settled very quickly. This is when the manning process begins, the hours upon hours spent sitting with the hawk on the fist earning their trust and respect until they feel safe and happy enough to eat, preen and relax in your presence whilst socialising them to all situations they may encounter in their future to develop a reliable and happy hawk when it comes to flying them free later down the line.
I look forward to getting to know him and seeing him progress to become a valuable member of the educational team. Lots of work ahead, but it's going to be an incredible experience and I cannot wait to give him the freedom of flight!