Back in the 90s I remember having the choice to join one youth group, and being a girl that was Brownies. In this ‘club’ we would learn cross-stitch, knitting, craft and baking. Still all it really did was instill old fashioned ideals, and sorry to say but I found it a huge waste of time. I always loved the idea of the scouts, but wasn’t welcome to join because back then scouts was just for boys.

Now that certainly isn’t the case. Both girls and boys can join scouts, and get a really solid fun education in the more outdoorsey bits of life that school doesn’t bother with. Things like how to survive, build fire, and where our food comes from. The latter part of this is something I wish to focus on as it has become common place to desensitise ourselves to the food industry. Nobody likes to think about how Lamikin will make delicious curry because it makes us feel cruel, and noone likes accepting responsibility for causing suffering . But we are so removed now that I have encountered children who don’t know beef comes from cows, or milk. Because they only see it in a supermarket, and have never had the process of food explained to them.

I have been devising a new talk to deliver to Scout groups. It focuses on hunting techniques of various raptors, strategy, the history of falconry and the last slide is about the Circle of Life because I realised I had a unique opportunity to approach this topic in context, thanks to something which happened earlier this week.

You see, I never got Harley to hunt other animals with. I got Harley to do educational displays with, to allow other people the pleasure to be a part of a flying demonstration or experience and to share the joy that is flying a bird of prey. I was not silly enough to think that he would not catch something if he had the chance, and finally after having Harley 6 years, he took that chance.

He saw a moorhen resting beneath a tree (I had previously been informed by the chap who lives near that the Moorhens have become terribly tame) and dive-bombed on top of it, locking his feet and talons into its body. Adrenaline surged through me as I saw him plummet and racing into the hedgerow I stopped with my head to the side, listening for his bell or sounds of a struggle. From behind I heard a weak flap, and turned to see Harley sticking half out of a wall, the moorhen had tried to bolt down a hole but hadn’t made it in time.  Just as I got down to them I saw Harley tighten his grip and the Moorhen stopped moving, it was over.

I certainly did not mean for it to happen, but it would have been a bigger disservice to the Moorhen to then leave it dead on a path, so I collected it up and brought it  home. I carefully skinned and butchered it, and portioned it into a few bags, so that I can feed Harley on this over the next few days. This is truly organic nature. The Moorhen had gotten too tame in life, and any wild raptor would have taken the same chance Harley did.

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