I visited the most amazing bird sanctuary this past weekend. It's called Wingspan and it's just north of Rotorua. Wingspan rehabilitates injured and orphaned native Falcons and other Birds of Prey such as our only surviving native Owl, Ruru (Morepork). They have a daily incredible falconry display where you can see what these amazing birds are capable of.
The Falcons live in an Aviary and are brought out into the open each day for their training. The birds could leave anytime they want but they seem happy enough in their enclosures. One (named Ozzy) even heads back into his home in a flash when the flying display starts to wind up.
I was lucky enough to visit on a sunny and still autumn day and even luckier to have the opportunity to hold Ozzy the Falcon, to see one of these birds up close is a truly wonderful experience.
In the aviary there were a few sleeping Ruru (of course they are nocturnal so sleep during the day), I was really hoping to get a photo of one with it's eyes open, so I kept going back on the off chance that one was waking up, and I managed to get a photo of one looking down at me, although a tad suspiciously. This is something I have been wishing for such a long time, and although it was a challenge in the darkness of its home to get a decent photo I'm just happy that I got to see these special birds in the flesh up close. I will be jumping at the chance to go back to Wingspan anytime I can, it's definitely one of my favourite bird sanctuaries I've ever been to.