South African Bird Sanctuary Experience

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When my family and I arrived at the historic Spier Wine Farm in South Africa in 2013, we didn’t know what to expect. I knew we’d be staying in a wine vineyard, but I didn’t know about the rehabilitation and conservation center on their grounds. As we arrived earlier than our comrades, we decided to explore Spier’s Eagle Encounters and meet some new feathered friends.

 

 

Eagle Encounters at Spier

A little bit about Eagle Encounters is that it’s a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education and eco-tourism centre. It’s NOT a Zoo! This facility is opened everyday from 9:30 to 5:00, Monday to Sunday (excluding Christmas). You can even enjoy personal encounters with these special birds & spectacular interactive flying shows with experienced handlers while using ancient falconry practices. These birds are not mistreated, they stay within the facility to rehabilitate and not used to entertain paying tourists.

 

What birds spend all their time on their knees?
Birds of prey!

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My Experience

During my travels, I have developed a fascination to visit animal sanctuaries who perform ethical practices. So, it came as a nice surprise when we found this gem where we were staying. It had a quaint and homey feel to it. As soon as you walk past through the gift shop, you walk outside to find many bird enclosures carrying different species……some not even birds at all. At first I was saddened by the thought that these poor animals were either enclosed in cages or tied to posts. But while wandering around and reading their stories, it made me feel better knowing that they are being cared for and adopted by loving people. Walking through the “weathering area” was so open and it allowed great views of all species big and small. Some of the avian acquaintances included vultures, barn owls, wood owls, eagle owls,  and of course majestic eagles.

I was even surprised when I came across two blackshouldered Kites named Harry and Dobby. I absolutely love finding Harry Potter references when I travel!!!

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Some birds…or animals were too traumatized or injured that they couldn’t re-enter the wild. Meet Woody. This tiny Wood Owl was taken from his nest, tapped up and kicked around like a soccer ball by some local kids. He was very slow and timid, but wouldn’t you be if you had his past? I couldn’t stay away… he was absolutely adorable. If you want to learn more about their rehabilitation practices, click here.

In the interaction enclosure, we really got a “bird’s eye view” and up close and personal with 5 outstanding owls. Did you know that a group of owls is called a parliament? Well…. now you do…. encase your every on a game show!

There’s even non-flight animals, such as a bearded dragon named Drogon (I wonder if he’s named after the dragon in Game of Thrones?), a chicken or two, and a lovable porcupine who ran away every time I tried to take a picture. Sadly, as of 2015, the adorable pokey porcupine passed away.

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Finally, we capped off our amazing sanctuary experience by wine tasting Spier’s more iconic blends. One too many of these and I’d turn into a real “Bird-brain”. If you want to learn more about Eagle Encounters at Spier check out their website or their reviews on TripAdvisor.

I hope you enjoyed this post.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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