We toddled off to Sussex on Saturday to celebrate father-in-law's 80th. As is ever the way when our lot get together we had a very jolly time, and we had some great entertainment laid on too. A magician at lunch (where did that melon come from?!) and, before pre-prandial drinks, a lady with raptors. What was lovely about this was not so much the birds themselves, who were beautiful and engagingly idiosyncratic, but the way the children in particular engaged with them.
If you're small and an owl swoops down onto your arm it can be a bit scary, particularly if you've had no contact with birds of that size before. Ferocious talons and a fierce looking beak makes an owl look less like Hedwig and more like a proper predator. The children loved the whole experience though, as raptor lady said they would. Why am I surprised? Every time children engage with nature they love it, and you see their preconceptions drop away within minutes if they're told the story as it is. You can't get much more red in tooth and claw than these chaps, but by the end of our session all the cousins wanted their own raptor to take home with them. Education, education, education. Simples.