the growing number of birds my interest in them grew. I started taking
notes and tried to spend as much of my time with them as possible. As
mentioned in the INTRODUCTION imprinted birds
seemed worth keeping an eye on. I have always felt kind of guilty when
I came across such a poor being, the life of which had been partly "destroyed"
sometimes a hard job to find out to which extent a bird is imprinted.
I do not even know the complete life history of one single imprint,
as they are confiscated birds and thus got a "life-sentence" at EGS
Center. The idea behind all my work is to find out as much as possible
about each individual using the methods of ethology: mostly watching
the bird's behaviour towards man, towards other birds of the same species
and taking notes. I have asked myself right from the beginning of my
studies, if it were possible to "rearrange" the lives of these birds
and make their future more rewarding. I have found out that in most
cases it is. With a lot of instinct I dare say you can even "guide"
them back to an almost normal life. The clue is to get to know the birds'
personalities. They are all different, even if they are siblings of
the same species. First of all you have to accept them as they are if
you really want to help them. A pair of Saker Falcons (Falco cherrug)
are my true favourites at the moment. The birds being very responsive,
I managed to pair them successfully after a trial-and-error period of
two years. Though both birds are imprinted on man and treated me as
their partner with all the well-known behavioural details, they copulate
now, lay and incubate their eggs quite normally. And the eggs proved
to be fertile ...
and "Lady" at the nest ledge during courtship
and feeding - believe it or not, I took these photos inside
the aviary, only about 8 feet away! (Click to enlarge, use the
BACK-button of your browser to return!)
also tried to build the ideal aviaries and changed their interior ever
so often to adapt them to the needs of the birds, which is of course
also a matter of money. I have never taken a penny from anybody else
and not tried fund raising yet, but this will surely be necessary in
the future (Welcome all you raptor-crazy millionaires out there!!).
This has become an important part of my research work: How does the
interior of an aviary affect a bird's life and behaviour? I have to
fight one great disadvantage - the facility is inside town! This limits
the height of aviaries a lot. Have a look: