Looking at some of my previous posts I noticed that I have the irritating habit of starting off my posts talking about my children. Thing is, I have interesting children and they do interesting things and I get to discover these things with them. So I am starting this post telling you about my sixteen year old son. He has a great passion for birds of prey. His love for animals as a toddler turned into a great obsession for birds by the time he was six and when he reached his teens he wanted to do falconry so badly that it was difficult to divert his attention to anything else.
Our lifestyle being what it is, keeping a falcon or a hawk in the backyard has not been a realistic option, very few neighbors would tolerate a fierce meat eating predator as a next door pet. So instead we look for opportunities where our son could see birds and perhaps talk to people who work with them. These outings are usually a disappointment because the bird handlers don’t want you to even touch the birds. Not surprising when you know that some of them can bring down large mammals with their talons and I believe one of the birds is known for stripping cars…
During our South African trip we were heading from one location to another when we saw a sign next to the road. It simply said “Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre”. It didn’t look like much from the road but we decided that we would stop there on our way back and have a look.
We arrived just in time for the bird show. We were the only people there, but it turned out that the bird handler was very happy for us to put on the falconry glove and handle her beautiful birds! We got to stroke them and feed them and watch them fly! It was one of those experiences where you are filled to the brim with wonder and awe by the miraculous beauty of something magnificent.
The Centre had a very large collection of birds, skillfully taken care of by volunteers and very under payed individuals. They are doing it because like my son, they have a passion for birds and working with these animals brings them joy but very little money. We left while the children were all trying to figure out how they could afford sponsoring the care of some of the birds.
Back in Singapore I decided that I needed some more boys in my portfolio. My sixteen year old was very quick with his suggestion, “how about a boy with a falcon?” So, here is a boy with his falcon.