The Falconry Centre at Dalhousie Castle
I went to Dalhousie Castle the other day to say 'hi' to friends visiting for the Kindling Words Writers Retreat in Scotland. I loved seeing everyone! Christine Taylor-Butler and I took at lovely walk down to the castle's Falconry Centre.
Dalhousie has its very own falconry centre with full-time employees who take care of the birds, both hand-raised and rescues. Each day, the birds are brought from their enclosures to sit on stands. The birds sit amazingly close to visitors, although, smartly, one isn't supposed to touch them. (One of the eagles nibbled on her keeper's ear - it was sweet but looked a bit painful.)
This little Merlin was so cute, he just watched me and watched me. "Hello!" And this little guy had such a funny name, I had to get his photo even though he was fast asleep. He is called a Boobook Owl. I got some video of the caretaker putting an eagle outside. Click the image to watch on Youtube:
Not all the birds left their enclosures. Many of the owls stayed inside, I suppose because they are supposed to be nocturnal. Although, this guy didn't look happy about it. This guy had the greatest ears! Truly, they were right there and HUGE! As you can see when Chris was taking a picture of this enormous owl. Of course, I had to visit the crow, because of my new book coming out this fall - Crow Not Crow by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. I praised the crow as being the smartest bird in the bunch, to which it came over to look at me more closely. I think it approved of my opinion. Falconry is an ancient practice, one that kept many people fed through their trained hunting methods. My friend, Leslie Jacoby is translating a Medieval French text on falconry into English for her PhD. (I shared her talk about Falconry HERE.) I'm hoping she'll leave a good comment below!