#TravelTuesday: Help Birds Soar At Banham Zoo

Head out to Norfolk, UK, and meet parrots, birds of prey and much more at this zoo.

blue-and-gold macaws at banham zoo
A pair of blue-and-gold macaws are part of one of the bird shows at Banham Zoo.

In rural Norfolk, UK? lovely countryside, there is zoo with 2,000 animals. Banham Zoo was founded in 1968 and now with the Zoological Society of East Anglia continues to advance its role in wildlife and environment conservation, animal welfare and education.

Bird lovers will appreciate the different opportunities available for them to get up close to the zoo? avian ambassadors. Two shows are offered daily at the zoo, including an outdoor bird of prey show and an indoor mixed species show. Highlights of the bird of prey show include eight vultures flying together and a pair of blue-and-gold macaws. During peak season the show takes place twice daily.

“A soaring bald eagle going up to over 1,000 feet and then diving into the arena at high speed is pretty impressive,?said Andy Hallsworth, head of animal training and presentations, when talking about his favorite behaviors seen in the show. The bald eagle was trained to start from a trainer? gloved hand and fly to a certain height. “He knows he will be called down to the glove for his lunch when he is high.?lt;/span>

Hallsworth started working with birds in 1991 at the London Zoo. There he set up a free flying birds and mammal show to demonstrate their natural behaviors.

The African harrier hawk is known for its flexibility.  
The African harrier hawk (above) is known for its flexibility. Possibly the only one you’ll see in the UK is at Banham Zoo, according to the Andy Hallsworth, head of animal training and presentations at the zoo.

Presently at the Banham Zoo you can see a really unique natural behavior from an African harrier hawk. These medium-sized raptors are known for their remarkable flexibility in their legs and feet allowing them to reach into bird nests to find prey, such as weaver birds. Hallsworth says their bird is possibly the only one on display in the UK.

The indoor “Amazing Animals?show also highlights natural behaviors from animals such as rats, a genet and serval. During this show a flock of rainbow lorikeets are flown into the audience and land on select visitors holding nectar pots. The zoo hopes to of add ring-tailed lemurs, kookaburras, quaker parrots, a barn owl, a seriema and a kestrel in the near future.

“I have had the privilege to work with many birds through my career and they have all been great,?Hallsworth said. His favorite species include, “barn owls for their grace, peregrine falcons for their speed and agility, and vultures of course, just for being vultures!?He then adds for the wow factor, “you can? beat a pair of macaws flying side by side in loops over the audience.?lt;/span>

From April to September the zoo offers half-day, pre-booked, Bird of Prey experiences which include a private tour of the raptors. “We show them around behind the scenes, they get to have a great grey owl fly to them in the show, meet the vultures and go fly a Harris? hawk in the local countryside,?Hallsworth said.

Do not fret if you are a procrastinator, as the zoo also offers a 20-minute raptor encounter that can be scheduled the day of your visit. In this experience you will be introduced into the world of falconry by flying one of their hawks or buzzards.

If you find yourself in the countryside in the East of England and are looking for a bird fix, escape for the day to Banham Zoo.

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Article Categories:
Birds · Health and Care