Where the owls are …
Spier Farm. – A month ago I visited the Eagle Encounters at Spier Wine Farm to learn how these birds of prey keep the farm healthy and balanced, allowing Spier to do pest control naturally and without the use of nasty chemicals.
Eagle Encounters receives and rehabilitates birds of prey that have been injured, poisoned, abused or hand-reared. When they are fit they are released into the wild where possible, although many have sadly been hand raised and are human imprinted, therefore can’t survive in the wild and find sanctuary here.
Others have been injured, possibly by cars or pylons, found wounded and brought here to be nursed back to health before a re-release. Others are victims of poaching, import and export of rare birds, victims of life.
It’s an educational visit, the birds used in the fly displays are full of character and you even get to stroke the owls. Oh, one sat on my head. Not something I ever expected to experience.
Spier Farm says that the birds of prey are crucial in keeping the farm’s ecosystem in balance. Kites, buzzards and vultures are scavengers who clean-up any organic remains, helping to prevent disease. Small falcons keep the locust, cricket and grasshopper populations in check, which would otherwise destroy our crops.
A barn owl family consumes up to one ton of rodents like rats and mice, which cause damage and soil erosion per year. Raptors also help to keep the numbers of seed-eating birds like guinea fowls and doves under control. African Goshawks prey on starlings, making sure they don’t consume too many insects, which help to pollinate crops and are a source of food for other birds.
These sweet curious little guys in a row.
This guy has lost an eye and can never be released into the wild.
During the flying display, this happened. He’s much heavier than I thought.
Sonic the porcupine who was hand-raised after being found in a drain and eventually brought to Eagle Encounters where he now lives. A real cutie.
Current entrance fee: Adults R70 | Children R60 | Students and Pensioners R65. Opening hours: Daily from 10:00 to 17:00 except for Christmas Day. Contact number +27 (021) 858 1826.