On 31st May both Lions and Tigers cub packs and the scouts visited the Hawk Conservancy.
The Hawk Conservancy is a charity that concentrates on the education on and protection of all birds of prey (not just hawks). At their base near Andover there are many birds to see and very impressive flying displays.
After an introductory talk about the work of the conservancy we saw the vultures getting their daily feed and learned more about the essential role vultures play in ensuring that the carcasses of dead animals are rapidly cleaned up. Straight after this we saw the first of the day’s displays “Wings of Africa”. This included vultures flying right over the heads of the crowd, so close you could feel the beat of their huge wings. We also saw a secretary bird demonstrate how it would attach a (rubber) snake. The display finished with a recreation of African savannah with fires, rain showers, storks, kites vultures and meerkats among the termite mounds.
The young people extended plenty of energy in the play area and a picnic lunch, we saw the second display “Valley of the Eagles”. This included a peregrine falcon, black kites feeding on the wing and a bald eagle flying from the far side of the valley.
The final display was perhaps the most impressive of all, in a woodland glade with different species of owls swooping gliding right over the heads of the crowd. The highlight was a barn owl flying right in between cubs and scouts stood facing each other.
We were very lucky that the extremely pessimistic weather forecast turned out to be wrong and apart from one shower it stayed dry all day. All the cubs and scouts conducted themselves very well and were a credit to the group.
Thanks very much to Penny, Steve BJ, Anna and Emily for assisting in making the day a great success.