|Today is our last proper day in Abu Dhabi and we booked ourselves a tour of the Abu Dhabi Falconery Hospital.
The falcon is the most prized possession in most families.
It is illegal for them to hunt in the UAE because it is such a small country and the prey will become extinct.
The falcon is now an endangered species - highly protected.
Average weight of a falcon is approx
1 1/2kg yet it is strong enough to kill and carry a gazelle.
The female is the biggest and stronger of the 2 sex's.
The Peregrine breed is the fastest bird with a top speed horizontal of 250 - 300 klm.
When they fly vertical as in diving towards their kill, their speed can reach about 350 klm.
Imagine the g forces????
We watched as they put a bird under so as to work on their feet. A pedicure which when they mentioned they also massage the feet, nearly all us women put our hands up to be next.
They use Vit E cream incase you were wondering.
After this we were able to take turns and have a falcon sit on our hand.
The hospital has all the facilities of a veterinary including an ICU.
They only accept falcons.
From here we watched as a bird fed on a dead quail. You could hear the bird eating through the bones. We were then led outside where there are a couple of large averies. Inside were owls. These owls were injured when young and so the hospital takes them and cares for them. Any chicks produced by these owls are released into the wild when able to. After this we were taken to another building which houses a number of falcons. These falcons are in their molting phase which means they do nothing during this period so for these falcons, it is like a holiday as they can chill out in this air conditioned room, they get room service and have an activities area.
One falcon showed us how they fly in this building. 3 laps around and very close to our heads.
One lady from the group asked what the bird was doing?
Our guide replied casually "showing off."
And with that the bird landed and started to chatter to the rest of the birds. ☺
Overall including the averies the facility is huge. They even breed quail and mice purely for feeding the falcons.
From here they organised us a taxi for our jet express return to our hotel.
We travelled on a road that was sign posted at 140klm. In another part of the UAE they are legal to drive at 160klm!!!!! Insane.
We did not see any police cars but learnt that the taxis are monitored back to base but if they continue to speed this is linked direct to the police station and they are issued with a fine.
Back at our hotel for lunch - final packing and then transferred to the airport for our flight home.