Get up close and personal with birds of prey, and find out how these magnificent animals keep the Spier farm healthy and balanced.
Eagle Encounters receives rehabilitates birds of prey that have been injured, poisoned, abused or hand-reared. When they are fit, healthy and able to hunt and breed again they are released into the wild. Only hand-reared birds are kept for education purposes.
Get touchy: hold an owl or an eagle in the touching gallery
Play knight: take part in a breathtaking falconry display, with kites, buzzards, owls and other birds swooping to and around you
Watch lunch: observe a secretary bird’s devastating kick in a simulated snake hunt
Find out who’s who: in the weathering area (the birds don’t live in cages) check out who the fastest, cheekiest and strongest birds are.
There’s much more to the centre than just birds, though! Hang out with Sonic the porcupine and Drogon, the bearded dragon and marvel at the family of Cape dwarf chameleons.
Finding the Balance
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.
Visiting Eagle Encounters
Entrance fee: Adults R70, Children R60, Students (with proof) and Pensioners R65.
Opening hours: Daily from 10:00 to 17:00 (excluding Christmas Day).
Contact us on: +27 (021) 858 1826.