Wingspan Birds of Prey Centre, Rotorua
Wingspan is a very interesting bird recovery and education centre that specialises in Birds of Prey. Injured birds are rehabilitated here, with the main aim to return to their natural habitat. On occasions, some injuries are such that the birds simply cannot be put back into the wild, and they get to stay here at the centre.
You are welcomed and walk through a large building housing various birds, where you can view and read about them.
At set times, they have demonstrations of the New Zealand Falcon using traditional falconry methods to release and feed these amazing creatures. This involves the bird flying off into surrounding trees and freely returning to the trainer who swings food around on a lure. This process is natural and exercises the bird in catching it's own prey.
As well there is normally an opportunity to wear a glove and have a falcon sit on your hand. This gives you a chance to see up very close the amazing creature. I really enjoyed this experience.
It's almost impossible to be this close in the wild.
Wingspan promotes the preservation of the little New Zealand Falcon, who's numbers are low enough to be a concern.