Dee and I have been away for the weekend at a friend’s wedding, and have had some time to spare. We spent the morning of the wedding at a bird of prey centre, where they have over 70 birds.
We arrived just as they were opening and a number of the staff were cleaning the areas where the birds have been roosting and generally getting the place ready for us visitors. Once the cleaning was done, some of the staff picked up various birds and chatted to us about them. In some cases we had the opportunity to hold the birds (obviously while wearing a leather gauntlet) and even to stroke them. The picture for today is a Golden Eagle chick, which is not yet 6 months old, and which I feel very privileged to have been able to touch: give it a few months and her beak will be too strong.
Dee and I talked about it later, and were discussing the pros and cons of having these birds either in aviaries or kept tethered permanently so they couldn’t fly anywhere, even though it was obvious they were well cared for and well treated. Some were on endangered lists from around the world, but others weren’t. Is it right that the unthreatened birds should be kept tethered? We understand the role that conservation and education has to play, but is it the right course of action? I know some who would say no, and some who would say yes: I’m unsure!