The Hawk Conservancy Trust has been regularly contributing to the PBMS, tell us a bit about yourself?
The Hawk Conservancy Trust is a conservation charity and bird of prey visitor centre, with a mission to conserve birds of prey. For more than 50 years, the Trust has worked in the fields of conservation, education, research and rehabilitation.
The Trust is home to the National Bird of Prey Hospital™ and can receive and treat more than 200 sick, injured or orphaned birds of prey each year. As well as receiving injured birds from the public, our specialist, state-of-the-art facilities mean we’re able to take in birds of prey from other wildlife centres too.
Our National Bird of Prey Hospital™ contains a treatment room, nursing bays and a state-of-the-art Rehabilitation Aviary Wing. This wing plays a key part in giving recovering birds the best chance to regain their fitness before we release them back into the wild. The hospital also acts as the base for our research projects that benefit wild, injured and rehabilitated birds. We also have incubation facilities which support captive breeding programmes.
I came to the Trust in 2005 on work experience and was thrilled to subsequently be offered a position as trainee falconer on the bird team. I have been with the Trust ever since and still love working here just as much as when I first arrived. At the beginning of 2016, I became Head of National Bird of Prey Hospital™, allowing me to work with wild birds of prey as well as those in our collection, which is great.
How did you first hear about our scheme?
The Trust has been sending birds to the PBMS since 2011 and by early 2017 we had sent a total of 183 birds.
How and where do you find most of the birds that you submit?
The birds that we send to the PBMS are all birds that have been brought to our National Bird of Prey HospitalTM and which have either died on the journey to us or have severe injuries that mean euthanasia is the only option. Almost all deceased admissions to the National Bird of Prey HospitalTM are sent to PBMS.
What is your favourite bird of prey and why?
I’m biased as I get to work with so many birds of prey on a daily basis. As part of the visitor centre we have over 130 birds of prey. My favourites are always those that I get to work with and the birds with plenty of character, particularly those that are challenging. I really like working with some of the big eagles and vultures as well.
Images courtesy of Ian Holt and R Byrne.