Tag Archives: birds of prey

Eagles and Owls at Eagle Encounters in Stellenbosch (2019-05-18) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 25 FEB 2020

Home to eagles, owls, vultures and just about every other raptor that you can think of, Eagle Encounters is a long running wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education and eco-tourism centre based at the historic Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch. Easily one of Jessica’s favourite animal attractions to visit, Eagle Encounters is the place to go if you want to have a closer look at some remarkable South African birds of prey.

Founded as a non-profit organization by Hank and Tracy Chalmers back in 2001, the self-funded Eagle Encounters is home to a large contingent of raptors, most of which are either injured or were hand-raised, thus making it impossible to be safely returned to the wild.

Visiting their site is something I always return with slightly mixed feelings about, primarily because I am not a particularly huge fan of aviaries (unless they are massive free flight operations of course), but it should be noted that the excellent team continuously evaluate and update their facilities to keep in step with the latest global conservation practices, meaning that just about every time I visit they’re doing something in a slightly new (better) way.

While there is an impressively large collection of birds of prey to make your way through, it is always the interactive attractions which the girls love most, like getting up close to the diminutive Scops owls, touching and talking to the pretty Barn and Wood owls, and holding up the big Spotted Eagle owls.

The touching and handling of various snakes, lizards and dragons is always a hit, the woolly sheep and his grumpy goat partner that guard the small kids play area always entertain, and the snake striking hunt of the secretary bird always catches the eye.

Then there are the playful cape foxes to observe, buzzards, falcons, hawks, vultures and eagles to admire from up close, and of course the brilliantly entertaining (and educational) flying displays to marvel at.

With three flight displays throughout the day, the enthusiastic team of bird handlers show off their charges’ flying, hunting and other behavioural quirks, all while doing their bit in educating visitors all about these majestic birds of prey.

It’s a brilliantly educational visit for both young and old alike, and one always comes back having learned more than just a thing or two about these remarkable birds that we share our open spaces with.

And as an added bonus (just in case all of the above wasn’t enough), your are of course on the beautiful, tourist friendly, art filled, historic beauty that is Spier wine estate. So no real reason not to visit then, is there?

Owls, Kites and Vultures in Eagle Encounters at Spier, Stellenbosch (2017-09-16) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 19 MAR 2019

Eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, kites, buzzards, secretary birds and vultures – if birds of prey interest you then a visit to Eagle Encounters at Spier in Stellenbosch should probably very firmly be on your cards.

Founded in 2001, Eagle Encounters is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education and eco-tourism center. It is home to numerous types of rescued raptors, has a number of interactive touch points, and their flying demonstrations are always both informative and entertaining.

The girls always love visiting there (touching and interacting with the owls is by far their favourite bit), and honestly, the institution always makes for an interesting outing. Easy to recommend really.

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Touching Owls from Eagle Encounters at Spier in Stellenbosch (2016-09-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 MAR 2017

I’m not massively fond of animals in captivity. However, there is most of the time a sound argument for this to be a thing (and necessary at that), so okay, I’ll go with it. Plus, when you have kids, nothing beats a trip to see some really interesting feathered/furry/scaly creatures – which is a lot easier when they are conveniently all in one place.

Now, if birds of prey is your thing and you find yourself in the Stellenbosch winelands, then you are definitely in luck, because Eagle Encounters, situated on land donated by the renowned Spier wine estate, is definitely worth a stop.

Founded in 2001, Eagle Encounters is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education and eco-tourism centre.

Birds of prey, raptors are their speciality, and scattered all about their premises you will encounter a wide variety of eagles, hawks, falcons, kites, buzzards, vultures, owls and all other manner of feathered hunters.

With funding coming primarily from their eco-tourism slant, Eagle Encounters makes sure that there is enough on the go to keep visitors interested, with various interactive shows throughout the day, including falconry demonstrations, secretary bird stomp displays, and mock hunts for their varied selection of raptors.

The birds are for the most part out in the open, tethered to their perches, which is apparently the currently most accepted way of keeping these big birds safe and sound, as it helps in preventing them from injuring themselves whilst in captivity.

(Like I said, I’m not overly fond of animals in captivity, though birds have always been the worst for me. Nothing sadder than seeing a bird in a tiny cage. I honestly don’t know why anyone keeps birds as pets. Very maddening for me. Strangely enough though, fish are alright. I have no idea why I have such a lower opinion of the little swimming fellas out there..)

Anyway, the kids always seem to enjoy the outing – though I suspect that is almost entirely based on the fact that they are allowed to touch owls, and better still, coax them to come and sit on their arms.

Which so far has worked out pretty well for us.

In other words, I’m still waiting for the day one of the owls decides to make a sudden poo!

(Mind you, this particular visit of ours was pretty cool. I got to hold a Cape Vulture aloft – man, those birds are much lighter than what their size suggests! Sadly though, Chantelle didn’t get a photo of this. A lot better than the last time I was called up during an interactive show – the guys at Giraffe House put a tarantula on my face!)

Right. So in short, an interesting visit if you are into your birds of prey. Photo opportunities as with any bird sanctuary is a bit of a hit and miss – I know that I certainly never get anything good on my little old phone camera whenever we pop in for a visit to a place with creatures behind fencing/netting…

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Naturally, here’s a map if you want to go and touch some soft fluffy owls for yourself one day:

Related Link: Eagle Encounters | Facebook | Spier

Comic Book Art: Birds of Prey (Batgirl) by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes Comic Book Art | Comic Books 15 OCT 2013

The Birds of Prey are definitely under attack, and by the looks of it, Batgirl doesn’t have much other choice than to surrender, in this wonderfully detailed piece of comic book art by the art team of Indonesian native Ardian Syaf and Spanish resident Vicente Cifuentes.

comic book art birds of prey batgirl by ardian syaf and vicente cifuentes

Covered: Birds of Prey #5 (Alina Urusov) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 23 JUL 2011

2010 saw DC revive its Birds of Prey line under the “Brightest Day” banner, still revolving around Oracle (Barbara Gordon) and her team of superheroines, and penned once again by the returning Gail Simone.

Issue 5 entitled “Aftershock Part One of Two: Two Nights in Bangkok” features interior work by Alvin Lee and Adriana Melo with inks from Jack Pucell and J.P. Mayer, but it is without a doubt the stunning cover from one Alina Urusov featuring The Huntress and Lady Blackhawk that absolutely steals the show!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birds_of_Prey_(comics)

Covered: Birds of Prey #8 (Stanley Lau) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 28 MAY 2011

2010 saw DC revive its Birds of Prey line under the “Brightest Day” banner, still revolving around Oracle (Barbara Gordon) and her team of superheroines, and penned once again by the returning Gail Simone.

The core team is made up of Oracle (supporting only), Black Canary, Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and finally Hawk & Dove – incidentally making Hawk the first male ever officially brought into the fold as a permanent team member.

Singapore-based Imaginary Friends Studio creative director and cover artist extraordinaire Stanley Lau was approached to produce a swathe of covers for the new series, and this particularly simple but striking team pose made the cut for issue 8, part 2 of the 4 part “The Death of Oracle” story arc.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birds_of_Prey_(comics)

Photo Gallery: Falcon Ridge (2010-05-10) My Life | Photo Gallery 10 MAY 2010

The Drakensberg is a spectacular part of our country, and one of the spots well worth a visit if you are ever in the area (like when Chantelle surprised me to a weekend away at the stunning Inkungu lodge for my 30th birthday!) is Falcon Ridge, a birds of prey sanctuary that is in the business of rehabilitating our feathery predators.

With a spectacular view down into the valley, knowledgeable handlers and an awe-inspiring collection of rescued and rehabilitated birds of prey, Falcon Ridge is definitely on my list of places to return to! :)

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