Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre - Falconry in North Cumbria and   South West Scotland

Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre


What's happening at The Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre


Latest Additions

posted 6 Aug 2012, 04:59 by Paul Currie

Just a quick update on the Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre's latest additions to our team
We have this year increased our team of birds by another four.
They are:
Gandalf - an African Spotted Owl
Delhi - a Bengal Eagle Owl
And 2 European Kestrel Females one called Pheobe and one poor girl still awaiting a name
These are  pictures of these birds when they arrived with us around 8 weeks ago.
Any suggestions for a name for the other female kestrel are welcome by email.
Updates of these birds will follow shortly.

Wet Autumn

posted 7 Dec 2011, 05:06 by Gary Swainson   [ updated 30 Dec 2011, 06:21 ]

There is no doubt that it has been one of the wettest autumns recorded, and to be honest it is quite difficult to find anything good to say about a lawn so sodden that my grass has not been cut for a month, flying soggy birds in the rain or the constant smell of wet dog that seems to linger in my kitchen !
   However as is generally the case there is a positive side to any bad situation.
This time of year sees the start of the Salmon and sea trout migrations.These relentless swimmers, driven on by their desire to reach stony river beds high upstream where they will spawn, makes for one of the most spectacular Autumn events.
  What makes this beautiful ( and tasty ) fish so unusual, is its ability to transform its self from a fresh water fish whilst in its juvenile or Smolt stage, to a fully salt water fish whilst growing fat at sea. It will then, like its parents before it, make the long and exhausting journey back up our rivers to fulfill its breeding destiny. Without the inevitable Autumn rains this would simply not be possible and we would in time lose this stunning fish from our rivers.
    Streams and rivers are the life blood of this country, supporting scores of insects fish and birds such as Kingfishers, Dippers, Gray Wagtails and and countless others that rely on the rich pickings  these water courses supply in abundance. These same rivers are also now home to an ever growing number of Otters, a species nearly hunted to extinction in the last century, but which is now making a good come back thanks to its legal protection and the reduction in effluent being allowed to seep unnoticed into many of our water ways. There is nothing more thrilling than to catch a glimpse of these aquatic acrobats as they go quietly about their business, flipping rocks and bulldozing small fish into the shallows to catch. Otters are remarkably inquisitive mammals, it is not unusual for anglers standing waist deep in rivers fly fishing, to find themselves face to face with an Otter who has come to check out something new in its territory.  The last couple of harsh winters have taken their toll on our kingfisher population too, with a diet comprised almost entirely of small fish, frozen rivers make it virtually impossible for this vibrant little angler to find food and often forces birds to head for the coast in an effort to find food in the unfrozen brackish water where sea and river merge. And so, despite the long grey damp days we have been having recently, it is good to know at least our river inhabitants are enjoying the rain !

August in the Garden

posted 13 Oct 2011, 12:28 by Gary Swainson   [ updated 13 Oct 2011, 12:29 ]

Growing up as a farmers son, August was always a busy month. Although farming was never going to be my future, there were, and still are many things I love about the countryside at this time of year - such as eating outdoors. Sat on a straw bale in a newly cut field, the combination of conversation, slightly soggy, warm sandwiches and the smell of a newly harvested field was one of the few aspects of farming that appealed to me.

August is still a busy month for me, but in different ways now. Hawks bred this year are now ready to be taken from the aviary and trained. I love their newness. Every feather is perfect. Beaks and feet are clean and shiny like newly moulded plastic, and the anticipated characters that will de velop in each bird is a treat to look forward to.

Everything in the garden is bursting with the last big firework display of colour before the inevitable fading into September and the onset of autumn.

But its not only flowers that are taking advantage of the long ,warm,( if a little damp ) days. Dragon flies are emerging from lavae that would not be out of place in a bad dream and taking to the skies surrounding the pond, their aerial skills unsurpassed by any other winged insect. They are mesmerising to watch as they dart around the garden hawking insects.

Tiny, newly mobile toad and frogletts  are creeping from the pond into their winter home among the long grass.It's hard to believe when there are so many of them that so few will survive to make it back to the pond next year.

But for me one of the most fascinating events in the garden this year was the forming of a wasps nest in the potting shed. Built without my noticing, it was too large to remove without my feeling guilty for its occupants. The tapestry of different coloured wood that they painstakingly, harvest, pulp and with artisan precision,  layer to build their home is a canvas that Monet himself would have been envious of. I can even pick out seams of green, red cedar and sea breeze blue from the stain I have used on wood around the garden.

Yes, the height of summer it certainly is and as usual nature is making hay while the sun shines

rain rain rain

posted 11 Aug 2010, 03:31 by Gary Swainson

I know it was a dry spring but this rain is getting ridiculous now, makes it really hard to get birds flown, although the falcons are enjoying the wind, the bird feeder is covered in baby Blue, Great, coal and willow tits, and the woodpecker came to the feeder for the first time yesterday , not such a big thing but the feeder is right in front of the window so he is definitely getting braver. And the best news is that the Kingfisher has started coming to the pond to fish, result !!

up and coming events

posted 6 Aug 2010, 13:12 by Gary Swainson   [ updated 6 Aug 2010, 13:21 ]

The Cumberland bird of prey centre will be flying birds at the following events in August..

  • Cannonbie Gala 21st
  • Newcastleton gala 28th

Pollock Park Family Day - Bird of Prey Display - 07 August 2010

posted 6 Aug 2010, 12:31 by Gary Swainson   [ updated 7 Aug 2010, 17:53 by Stephen Hind ]

The Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre display team will be a Pollock Family Day in Pollock Park, Glasgow, where we will be flying a Bateleur Eagle, Gyr Falcon and Harris Hawks.

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