They wanted Seaworld. I wanted outdoors; the weather was too nice.

I did a quick search of places to visit with kids and up popped Millet’s Farm in Oxfordshire. We’d been before for various reasons but on this occasions their falconry centre caught my eye.

My eldest wants to be an explorer and as such, she is already a keen naturalist. My youngest likes Angry Birds and in particular ‘Mighty Eagle’  so win win.

Wrong

I herded them across the car-park and towards the separate entrance to the Falconry Centre.

In a touch of Pied Piper marketing genius, I had to walk them through a well resourced, adventure playground, a trampoline park and a merry-go-round to get to the entrance. By the time we had got there, sparks were coming off of the heels of the youngest and he was on the edge of tears.

Luckily, this was the view from the cash-desk..

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The bigger of the two birds, which I initially thought was a Golden Eagle, turned out to be a juvenile Bald (Mighty) Eagle.

A quick ‘Hey guys; look through there…’ soon gave rise to gasps of excitement. We went in. As is now the norm, the eldest got to take the photos, apart from the video below, where I tried desperately to catch the Eagle’s cry..

It turned away at the precise moment.

They have a dazzling array of Birds of Prey, including Owls and you can get quite close to them.

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My daughter got a little too close to this one; the resulting warning cry stopped her in her tracks.

She once stroked a Swan when we went to feed the ducks when she was three. It was pretty startled but as it was bigger than her and she had bread in her other hand, she was tolerated.

I’ll have to train that out of her before she starts encountering bigger animals.

They also have some other animals, such as Raccoons and Meerkats and we stood and watched a family have a close encounter with them (at extra cost).

The keepers were very knowledgeable and happy to answer questions.

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This Boobook Owl was on his way back from the flying field when this keeper got papped and then quizzed. It’s a lovely looking creature that has that look like it has just overheard the most profane of words.

boobook

file pic

As with any zoological institution, there was the question of morality. As we walked around some of the birds were naturally startled and flew to the furthest reaches of their aviaries, only to be met by netting.

To Millet’s credit, all of the birds looked healthy and the whole place was meticulously clean. Their conservation statement can be viewed here and what they write is promising. The decline in some species in the UK is worrying.

All in all, this centre is well worth a visit and pretty good value for money too. Even with one ride for all of us on the Carousel, the whole day cost just under £30.

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I’ve no idea what this is; the sign fell over.

BSD

This is not a sponsored post.

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