Merlin in training for first ever show
Wednesday 15 February 2012
See ten-month-old Belle join Birds of the World this February half term!
Ten-month-old Merlin, Belle, is busy practicing her airborne antics with keepers who are training her to take part in her very first Birds of the World show at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo this half term.
The youngster arrived at the Zoo in May last year and since then, the birds team have been working hard getting her ready to join a host of feathered friends, including hawks, buzzards, a bald eagle, a barn owl, and a vulture in the dramatic free-flying bird display.
Merlin (c) Jim Garnett Birds trainer, Liz Brown, said: “Belle is doing really well with her training. We’ve been teaching her to fly to the lure which is swung around for her to try and catch. We’re very pleased with her and looking forward to her first show, which will also include eagles and hawks soaring through the sky.”
The Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a member of the falcon family and the UK's smallest bird of prey, rarely measuring more than 33cm in length, or having a wingspan greater than 67cm.
In contrast vultures, with their glossy black plumage, can reach double the size of a Merlin, and the largest known bird nest ever recorded ¬¬- at 2.9m wide and an incredible 6m deep - belonged to a bald eagle.
Both of these majestic birds will be swooping through the sky as they join Belle for Birds of the World which takes place in the Bird Arena at 1.30pm daily during February half term.
Watch the Birds of the World video: