Wednesday 27th February 2008 by C. Freeman
The sight of a soaring peregrine falcon at College was the inspiration for a creative writing project. Mr Wayne Davis, introduced the students to three of his birds which he trains and flies as part of his avian control business. Students got the chance to see Finnegan, a Saker/Jer falcon cross, and Cumulus, a female barn owl at close quarters in the College's lecture theatre, stroking the birds and questioning Mr Davis about their lifestyles and habits.
Afterwards they went to the sports field to see Calista the peregrine falcon soaring and swooping above the pitches, reaching speeds of up to 50mph in a matter of metres, although the foggy conditions meant that she had a restricted flight, she can reach speeds of well over a hundred miles an hour.
Mr Davis explained how falconry was popular in the medieval period when phrases such as 'hood-winked' were used by Shakespeare. It originated from the practice of putting leather hoods over the heads of birds which were not hunting.
English teacher Miss Canham said: 'This should wow the students and get them really interested in writing a descriptive piece for their English coursework. We're really grateful to Mr Davis for bringing along these interesting and beautiful birds.'
Mr Davis, a governor at Brooke Weston, originally became interested in birds after training a kestrel as a teenager. He expanded his knowledge and menagerie and now runs his own business, Avian Control Systems, flying his raptors to scare off smaller birds from industrial and commercial premises like food companies, landfill sites and airports.