EAGLE ENCOUNTERS | SPIER WINE ESTATE
Rehabilitated birds of prey that have been injured, poisoned, abused or hand-reared are released into the wild when they are fit, healthy and able to hunt and breed again. Get up close and personal with these birds of prey, and find out how they keep the Spier Wine Estate healthy and balanced.
In 2001, Eagle Encounters was a founded by Hank and Tracy Chalmers to rehabilitate and release birds, and promote conservation and education on land donated by Spier. With its commitment to environmental sustainability, Spier is nurturing the farm’s ecosystem through organic agriculture, indigenous planting and a water conservation programme, making the farm the perfect habitat for the centre’s birds to be set free.
Birds of prey are crucial in keeping the farm’s ecosystem in balance. Kites, buzzards and vultures are scavengers who clean-up any organic remains, helping to prevent disease. Small falcons keep the locust, cricket and grasshopper populations in check, which would otherwise destroy our crops. A barn owl family consumes up to one ton of rodents like rats and mice, which cause damage and soil erosion per year. Raptors also help to keep the numbers of seed-eating birds like guinea fowls and doves under control. African Goshawks prey on starlings, making sure they don’t consume too many insects, which help to pollinate crops and are a source of food for other birds.
The birds allow Spier to do pest control naturally, allowing the land to be farmed as sensitively as possible – without the use of nasty poisons.