Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Norfolk Falconry Snowy Owl

Ice is a female snowy owl, born in June 2008. Ice came to Norfolk falconry at about 2 months old and has gone from strength to strength with her training.
Now Snowy owls are tough owls, with a naturally aggressive attitude. Ice seems to think my fingers are there for her to practise her bite on and my legs are for her target practise.

What is going on in the training of Ice?
I started training Ice to the fist, as with most captive birds of prey it is vital that they learn the recall command. Ice was always quick to learn, though very stubborn.

Building the Snowy owls fitness up was the next issue, this was done by demanding the Snowy owl flew further and further distances. Starting on an open field, I walked further and further away from Ice, over many days getting her confident in her flying.

What must be remembered with owls is the first and most important lesson, but often the first forgotten. Owls need daily flying and practise to master a new skill. It is not beneficial to start training then have a day off for any reason. Ice, being a snowy owl, was and still is encouraged to fly in very strong winds, rain and cold weather, though at this moment in time she does struggle in the hotter days, so I am quite grateful for the winter months rapidly approaching.

Now when I let Ice off, she flies with speed and confidence towards the middle of her home field. It is amazing that Ice fears nothing. Crows try mobbing her, but do not phase her, seagulls have half hearted attempts at mobbing her, but they dare not try too hard. One dog wanted to pick a fight but Ice gave the dog a fly by warning and the Golden retriever ran for its life.

I have extended the snowy owls training even further, as you will see on the video that will be uploaded to youtube in the next few days. Right now you can watch the snowy owl in her early training days, though please remember, this video was shot for my personal diary, so I can see how far the snowy owl has progressed, especially as some times there seems to be a rather long plateau, where no improvements are apparent.

This is my favourite picture of my Snowy owl to date.

Coming very soon to the Norfolk falconry blog is how I trained my Bengal eagle owl, you can see all six videos at

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Lost male kestrel

What a terrible day today turned out to be.

I flew the male and female Kestrels together, these have been reared together, trained and flown free together. I was suprised there for when the female Kestrel turned on the male Kestrel and chased him out of the field to the nearby tree line.
To my dismay, from behind the tree line came two Kestrels that started a turf war with my Kestrels. The female Kestrel stood her ground, but the male Kestrel was chased down wind until he was a dot in the sky.

I was not overly worried, as it was highly unlikely the Kestrels would kill each other and my Kestrel had telemetry on.
Imagine the horror that hit me when I later found my Kestrels telemetry on a track, somehow the kestrel had lost the telemetry.

Starting my search where I last saw the Kestrel provided no clues, no kestrel to be found. Returning to the flying area also left me empty handed. The most worrying part of this, the weather is cold tonight, just 5 degrees at 9pm.

Tomorrow I will be up before first light to resume the search, i will keep this blog updated on the progress.

An open invite just for you

I warmly invite you all to come and meet the wonderful birds of prey at Norfolk falconry.

Your chance to meet Norfolk falconry and their birds of prey at a real bargain price of just £5 per person, £2.50 for children. You can handle the Snowy owl, Barn owls, Harris hawks, Indian eagle owl, Red tail Buzzard and the Kestrels to name just a few of the birds of prey.
There will be a talk for 1 hour at and about the birds of prey, though between these times you are welcome to view, take photos of and experience the handling of these gorgeous birds of prey.
There will be light refreshments available.

This is an ideal opportunity for those that appreciate birds of prey to come and have a gentile introduction to birds of prey outside of their aviaries for very little money, which will all be spent on the birds of prey upkeep.

To be honest, this is a small village hall I have been invited too, so whilst you are more than welcome to 'just turn up' I advise booking in advance to guarantee your place.

I will be at Gressenhall Reading Rooms on the 22/November/2008 from 12.30 until 6.30 PM

I look forward to seeing and meeting you,
Warmest regards, Mark Christian

This is a chargeable event at a cost of GBP 5.00