Our 2 kestrels now have names! We’ve called the male ‘Rusty’ & his sister is ‘Arrow’. They are starting to look a bit different – Arrow is a bit chunkier & darker across the chest (on the left above), while Rusty is more streamlined & lighter coloured.
Rusty and Arrow are now getting used to the world around them! We’ve been putting the lead on & walking them out in the Sanctuary so they can get used to different people, and have some sense of the world outside the flight arena.
Arrow is a bit spooked by prams… aren’t we all??? So we have been asking people with prams to stop and then we approach them so she can get used to it, then we ask the people to move the prams a little so they make noise and she can get used to that… Lots of little steps! Rusty is pretty unflappable which is interesting considering that he used to be the nervous one. He doesn’t mind prams, vehicles, or anything really except the occasional wild raptor we see when out walking.
Both birds are going really well with their training – we have started ‘box training’ which aims to get them used to going into a transport box for if we ever need to move them around the park. Both birds have got this very quickly, and within a few days we had the box on the back of a vehicle & we took them for a short drive. No worries!
The other really important thing we need to get the birds used to is having a transmitter attached – this is on a small piece of leather with a pop-stud and we pop it around the bird’s leg before we fly them so if they do fly away we can track them and get them back. This took about a week of getting them used to seeing the transmitter and then having them relaxed about having it on their leg while they fly.
We’re just about ready to free fly these birds (finally!) All these little steps though are vital, and the more time we put into these preliminary steps the less likely the birds are to get a fright and fly away. Training is a very important insurance policy!