Friday, December 16, 2016

Bird of Prey & Rehabilitation Centre, Dullstroom. Mpumalanga Province


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On our way to the Rehabilitation Centre,
we discovered this delightful roastery just outskirts of Dullstroom.
Their product is sourced from all over the coffee producing countries of the world
and is top class.
Called "Beans about coffee",
they are well worth a visit.

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We made it to the Centre in time for the first flight
demonstration of the day.
There are two per day...10h30 and 14h30.
(weather permitting)
Magdali Theron and her volunteers conduct the "show"

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First up...
Charlie the Peregrine Falcon.
These birds have been clocked at over 400kph!
Charlie's top speed...280kmph.
Therefore, not easy to photograph in flight.


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However, when he chose to sit still.
that was a lot easier.

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Next up..JB, the Jackal Buzzard.
Why is he called that?
Because their call sounds similar to that of a Black-backed Jackal.
He hunts in a totally different fashion to a falcon,
hence the different body shape and size

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This is Heidi, a female Barn Owl
Owls have the unenviable connotation of being associated
with witches, wizards, death and Harry Potter.
None of which is true.
On a good night an owl can catch and kill up to 3 rodents,
so why are we still using poison instead of promoting
Owl populations in our suburbs? 
Education is needed, before introducing them to areas
where they are seen as harbingers of death.


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This is what you get for wearing a hat that says
you would rather be elsewhere!

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My wife with Heidi...

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Ebony, a female Verreaux's (Black) Eagle.
Her talons have the same crushing power as the jaws of a crocodile.
At 4kgs, this bird packs a LOT of killing power.

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The talons have a "locking" mechanism
that only the bird can control.
This is used to hold prey to stop it from escaping.
In this instance, she seems to think that Magdali is prey.

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Stunning in the air...

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And almost Vulture-like on the ground...

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She was a fitting ending to the demonstration.

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Afterwards, we wandered around the grounds of the Centre
reading the stories about each inhabitant,
and being able to get "up close and personal" without
invading their space in a threatening manner.
This is my favourite raptor...The Bateleur.
Academics wanted to re-name it the 
"Short-tailed Eagle" but were unsuccessful


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These are the business end of the Bateleur.

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This rather delicate looking raptor
is a Black Shouldered Kite.
This bird can usually be seen on power-lines or hovering over fields
along the side of our major highways.

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"I am watching you"...
this Yellow-Billed Kite seems to be implying.

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Not a species that I have seen before...
A Lizard Buzzard.

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This African Grass Owl was not interested
 in seeing who I was.


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This Black -breasted Snake Eagle did not participate in the demonstration,
but did keep a beady eye on the visitors.

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Mom and baby Little Grebe.
I "discovered" this pair on the dam in the Centre.
Aside from offering a home to water birds, visitors
are also able to fish here.

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Each of the birds has a name and a story.
The centre relies on entrance fees, sponsorships and
donations from the public to keep operational.
They are a registered NPO and PBO,
which means that your donations are tax deductible.
As a registered Conservation Trust, the animals are the beneficiaries,
and that ensures the security of the resident animals going forward.
The next time you are in Dullstroom,
pop in and pay them a visit...
perhaps even adopt a bird (or two)
To find out more about the Centre:
http://www.birdsofprey.co.za
Contact Number : 082 899 4108
Email : info@wildlifesos.co.za


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