Join the high flyers

Bird keepers are encouraging visitors to test their flying skills – and have roped in Teal the Harris hawk for help.

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As part of our Keeper for the Day experience, staff offer participants the chance to try their hand at falconry.

Team Leader Birds, Kellie Piper, explained: “We fly Teal once a day, but because he is a hunting bird and we have lots of small animals around the zoo close to where we fly him, we put him on a falconry training line so he won’t fly off and it means that visitors get the chance to experience flying a bird.”

COURTYARD FLIGHTS GROUNDED DURING MOULT

A few of our birds of prey are having a break from flying as they undergo their annual moult.

Birds need lots of energy to enable new feather growth, so during this time they go off show and are not flown by keepers.

Kellie added: “Birds of prey have to be a certain weight to fly, so we don’t want them using up all their energy on flying when they are moulting, as they need the energy to grow new feathers.

“The process is comparatively slow as a bird never sheds all its feathers at once so it typically lasts about two to three months as they have to keep enough feathers on their body to regulate their temperature.

“During the moult we also try not to handle them very much and feed them up to boost their energy levels. “