Visit the ICBP in North Yorkshire

June 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

The market town of Helmsley in the picturesque Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England, is the location of the new International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP) which opened to the public in March 2013. Spread over eleven acres with historic Duncombe Park as a backdrop, the visitor attraction features more than a hundred birds housed in some forty aviaries, and is set to become one of the top tourist attractions in the district. In addition to being a visitor attraction, the ICBP runs a program of breeding endangered birds, most notably Steller’s sea eagles, which are among the world’s largest birds and listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN.

The ICBP has three flying demonstrations per day where visitors can witness the exceptional abilities of a variety of birds of prey. As each flying demonstration features different birds, with commentary offering fascinating facts about the performers, visitors may want to spend the entire day at the centre and watch all three demonstrations. In the event of inclement weather, the centre will move the demonstration to a sheltered wooded area or indoors, so visitors are assured of seeing the birds in action.

Visitors may want to start their tour of the centre along the Hawk Walk, where they will be able to approach within a few feet of the trained birds which includes hawks, falcons, eagles and buzzards. The main aviary area features a series of enclosures which have been carefully designed with the comfort of the feathered residents in mind. The three solid walls of each aviary provide the birds with a sense of security, which makes them more content and enhances their breeding abilities. The success of the aviary design is evident in the fact that the ICBP has successfully bred 65 species of birds of prey.

Overlooking the parkland in front of Duncombe Park’s main house, the Flying Ground has seating for demonstration spectators, as well as picnic tables and acres of well-tended lawn to relax on. The east and north of the area are sheltered by ancient oak, chestnut, ash and lime trees with the west open to the prevailing wind, providing perfect conditions for the birds to perform in.

Other facilities include the Fountain Tea Room, a shop and a play area. A visit to the International Centre for Birds of Prey is sure to be memorable. Don’t forget to take your camera!

Cockatiels as Pet Birds

February 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Cockatiels are well known little birds. They are popular with first-time bird owners and master aviculturists alike. They are fairly quiet little guys, but if they do not have enough time out-of-cage, they may begin a screaming habit. They are good in aviaries and can be kept with other cockatiels, doves, finches, and canaries.

Cockatiels are prone to Giardis infections, so take them to the vet yearly for a well-bird visit. They are small, but need a good diet – feed two different kinds of fruit and three different kinds of veggies every day, along with a teaspoon of seeds and a tablespoon of pellets.

Cockatiel males are good talkers, but females do not usually talk. They can be potty trained, taught step up, and can be taught many other tricks. They are friendly and are usually good with children, as long as the children are gentle enough.

Keep them in a fairly large cage with appropriate bar spacing- around ½ inch. Provide them with around three perches and four toys at minimum. While they enjoy toys, their favorite toy is you, so let them have time out-of-cage with you. If you cannot spend lots of time with your cockatiel everyday, get a larger cage and have it share it with a cagemate. They will not usually fight, but introduce them slowly so nothing happens. If you will let the cockatiel out of its cage, but won’t have time to interact (you should interact for at least around ten minutes a day), get a playstand, even a small one, so your cockatiel is not bored.

Now that you know all this, if you are interested in a ‘tiel, visit your local bird rescue or pet store. There are always birds in need of a home and love.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Bird Breeding

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

Bird breeding generally begins as the daylight hours of summer increase. Territorial behavior becomes evident with males selecting and defending their territory by means of singing and flight displays. Territories vary in size depending on availability of food and requirements of birds breeding in the area. When a female enters a male’s territory she may be threatened by him as if she were another male. However, she will not fight back or fly away if she is ready to mate, and copulation will take place.

The first eggs are usually laid the day after the breeding pair completes the nest. Eggs may be laid daily or on alternate days, even up to five day intervals depending on the species. For the breeding of birds to be successful, the eggs must be incubated. The parents transmit heat to the eggs by means of brood spots (bare patches on underbelly with many blood vessels). Eggs are turned as often as 12 times an hour and incubation periods vary according to species. When they hatch, some chicks are completely dependent on their parents, these are called altritial. Others are able to run and feed themselves immediately, and these are called precocial.

Many people are interested in finding out about bird species breeding in their area. Studies are conducted and breeding bird atlases are produced which will provide this information. If for example you would like to find out about a British bird’s breeding habits, you would consult a breeding bird atlas for Britain.

The basic concepts discussed above also apply to breeding birds in captivity. For example, when breeding love birds it is important that they receive the correct amount of sunlight so as to stimulate breeding. Breeding love birds can be done in aviaries or individually in bird breeding cages. Bird breeding cages must have enough space for the birds to move around comfortably and continue with normal behaviour. Ensure that breeding pairs are fed properly so that they remain in good condition and that the eggs will not have defects. Once the young hatch, they too require suitable nutrition.

Breeding, whether in captivity or in the wild, is vital for the continuation of bird species and our continued pleasure in these beautiful feathered creatures.