It seems like a lifetime ago, but I kept kestrels as a kid. My headmaster was a keen falconer and was brought road casualties and he couldn't keep up. I grew up on a farm so we had space and a willing dad to build a couple of aviaries, so I ended up with a couple of injured kestrels at a time and nursed them back to health where I could. Incredibly satisfying but such hard work, especially gaining trust of wild birds. I ended up with a buzzard too, which for a 12 year old lad seemed enormous at the time. Gradually as time went by I couldn't devote enough time to the whole thing and gave it up as a hobby - would love to have the time to get back into it again at some point.
My passion for birds of prey started as a young lad after seeing the film Kes and soon got myself a female kestrel that I trained to fly to the lure. When I got my house in Normanby, there were already aviaries and I soon converted these to house kestrels, sparrowhawks, barn owls, and of course the buzzard I mentioned above.
Work started to take me away from home and I could not give them the time they needed. That is when I loaned and then sold the buzzard to the owl sanctuary. I still have my falconry glove and only recently got rid of the scales I had to weigh the birds. Somewhere in the house will be the diaries of each bird I have flown, documenting their weight, how much they had eaten and how they had flown that particular day. The weather would also play a huge factor in that.
I know I have video footage of me hand feeding the sparrowhawks using a pair of eyebrow tweezers, but I must also have photos of the birds with my two sons.