Meet the contributor: Conrad Clayton

Conrad, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 69 with three grown up children, and six grandchildren.

I've had a varied work career, and still work very part time as a delivery driver for the makers of Doddington cheeses and ice creams, a local family business.

When our children were still at home we lived in Newcastle and were regular cycle tourists. One of the great things about cycling is one gets to see far more than when using any other form of transport. One day whilst out cycling we found a beautiful stoat by the roadside. We took it to the Hancock museum, where we met Eric, the then taxidermist. Over the next 20 or so years we found all manner of animals and birds which we took to Eric for storage/treatment/display.

During the 70's I worked as a social work team leader and several of my team were keen amateur ornithologists, and over time we amassed a collection of stuffed owls, we had, Tawny owls, Long and Short eared owls and two little owls, all of which I found as road casualties. I continued to collect and 'donate' owls and other raptors I found to Eric, until he retired. Sadly the Hancock did not replace him and I had no where to send the road casualties I found, until I discovered PBMS. 

One of the other jobs I have had was reading 'hard to reach' electricity and gas meters, and one day in the 1990's I was fortunate enough to meet a falconer, who explained some of the fascination in breeding and hunting with raptors. There is something truly wonderful about any top end predator, their evolution produces such perfection. 

How did you first hear about the scheme?

To be honest I can't recall.

How and where do you find most of the birds that you submit? 

Currently I find most birds (roadside casualties) on the A1 which I travel most days.

What is your favourite bird of prey? 

I don't think I have a favourite bird of prey, I have always said that if I were to win the lottery then I would take up falconry, I am fascinated by Harris Hawks which hunt as a group. Of our local raptors the common buzzards we see circling in the sky, or cruising the uplift at the hill top with their keening cries are always a thrill, or our local sparrowhawk skimming the roadside hedge trying to flush out smaller birds, they are all wonderful.

How can you help?

To submit a dead bird of prey Contact us (or telephone 01524 595830) to request a submission pack.


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