An unusual activity awaits us in Villeneuve d'Aveyron: an introduction to falconry with a walk. Follow us to discover raptors!
After crossing the pretty village of Villeneuve d'Aveyron, we arrive at Isabelle and Eric. They welcome us in the park of their charming house. In front of us, the fields of the Causse Villeneuvois.
Isabelle introduces herself, she is falconer ! An intriguing job that we are going to discover… It offers training, internships or even performances during shows. For beginners like us, it also offers falconry initiations.
Meet the raptors
We walk around the house to reach the big aviary. We can already see some curious eyes watching us. Some birds squeal at our approach, they know that Isabelle's arrival is often synonymous with a meal or a getaway!
We first meet Cinderella, a Royal Eagle ! It's a chance to see such a bird so close. Isabelle explains that in golden eagles, the female is larger than the male. Cinderella observes us… She even poses for the photos, a real princess!
During our tour of the aviary, Isabelle introduces us to each raptor: first Titan, Ares and Junior, the harris buzzards. Apparently they are the terror of pigeons! Isabelle calls on them for her scaring activity in urban areas. Then we meet Vladimir, the great horned owl. He gazes at us with his large piercing eyes. It looks like Archimedes, the owl in Merlin the magician: never satisfied!
We also come across Epsilon, a variable nozzle that we call opportunistic. Indeed, she prefers to feed on small corpses which require less work while her neighbors are real hunters. And there is also Mystic, the falcon.
Isabelle reminds us that we are in the world of predation. At these raptors, the attack is the mode of operation!
We go to training!
Now that the presentations are made, we move on to training with Aura, a nozzle with pretty chocolate colors. For her, it's both the training and the meal. Placed on a perch, she quietly waits for us to call her… “Yep yep”. As soon as these words are spoken, she takes off to land on our arm protected by a falconer glove made by Isabelle.
Lively and precise, it knows that it does not move for nothing. Each of its flights and rewarded with a piece of meat. As in nature, a raptor never flies for pleasure but to hunt and therefore feed.
Let's go for the next ride
Direction the causse paths, close to the house. Soon enough, we find ourselves in a very pleasant natural setting. Large fields stretch out in front of us to the foot of the Cantal mountains that we can see in the distance on this fine afternoon.
This time it's Junior and Ares following us, two harris buzzards. They are two brothers with very different characters. Junior is exemplary, always in front, he is the one who leads the dance and answers the first to our calls. Ares is a bit more unruly and likes to be desired.
During this walk of about 1km, we move forward in the shade of the oaks of the causse. The birds of prey land on the branches, fly away, brush against us… It's a magical moment… What a privilege!
Road to Salles-Courbatiés