Friday, 14 February 2014

To Fly or Not to Fly

Over the years I have had numerous raptors species that have come to me from various parts of the Eastern Cape.  Sometimes I am extremely lucky and can re-release them back into the wild but often they have permanent damage to their wings or some other parts of their bodies, that this is then not possible.
Cape Vultures catching thermals
This past week has been a busy week with injured birds again. My first call was from a person who informed me that they had found a Spotted Eagle owl caught up in the barbed wire fence.  Sadly this is something Spotties tend to do sometimes.  Often they hang in the fence for a long time before they are rescued and by then the damage to the wings is beyond repair.

Cape Vulture

My next call was from a farmer, Mr Alwyn Raubenheimer from Cookhouse.  He had come across a Cape Vulture that was unable to take off.  She had collided with transmission lines of Eskom and has suffered permanent wing damage.

She will never be able to taste the wide open spaces in our skies again.

Although her life will be destined for VULPRO where she will go into a breeding programme to help this species survive, Mr Raubenheimer made my day when he made the following comment;

"I feel honoured to have vultures flying around on my property"

Mr Raubenheimer, likewise, I feel honoured to be able to interact with people like you!

Wind farm near Cookhouse
Wind farm near Molteno

This vulture was picked up near the wind farm that has been erected near Cookhouse.

One just has to ask yourself if these birds really stand a chance with those blades when they are at full speed?

Just to give yourself an idea the picture of the wind farm near Molteno on your right has a transmission line running right through the middle (just after the 4th tower from the left).  The Cape Vulture collided with this type of transmission line.

One therefore, has to wonder what impact these "porcupine quills" will have in the Eastern Cape.

I fully understand the need for 'alternative energies', however I do think that wind farms in this form are not going to solve our energy need and greed we have.  These structures are far from green - one just has to look at the carbon foot print with the construction alone.  Each one of those towers carries at least 1 000 litres of oil which has to be replaced annually.  These towers still have to feed into the Eskom grid which they will buy - so in the end the end user will carry those costs.

My next call was from Molteno, where Mr  Rene Noorman had 'rescued' a waterlogged juvenile Fish Eagle out of the sewerage pond of the town.  He and his family were convinced it was a young Black Eagle however, after viewing the picture sent to me, I knew it was a juvenile African Fish Eagle.  They kindly brought the bird down to me.
Juvenile Fish Eagle
  As you can see this is a magnificent bird and we all know what a wonderful call it has.   I am not sure what he was looking forward to at the sewerage works but he was washed down to 'remove' the unwanted smells and fed a diet of skinless chicken to boost his system.

View of the Klipplaat dam

Yesterday thanks to Gill Gibbens I gained access to the Klipplaat dam, that is on their property.

At first he was reluctant to get out of the box but with a little tilt of the box he stepped onto the grass and immediately took off.

We watched him as he flew across the dam and circled before flying on.

What a wonderful feeling it must have been to be able to fly freely again.

No doubt more birds will cross my path in the years to come but surely most of them would choose to fly than not to fly free again.  Without the support of the farmers and people I have interacted over the past couple of days, our world would be a lot poorer.

1 comment:

  1. Really lovely work Kate. Thanks so much for what you do!