Liberty's keeping a cool head

THAT'S the life! As temperatures soared to nearly 30 degrees this pampered bird of prey was cooled off by his keeper.

THAT'S the life!

As temperatures soared to nearly 30 degrees this pampered bird of prey was cooled off by his keeper.

When the sun comes out, Liberty, an American bald fish eagle, lifts his wings and ruffles his feathers ready for his refreshing shower at the Butterfly and Wildlife Park in Long Sutton, before soaring into the sky above the town to ride the thermals.

As a heat wave hits the region, falconers will hose down the overheating sea eagle twice a day.

In the wild Liberty would cool himself down by swooping behind the surf at sea and ducking into the water to catch fish in wetlands including lakes and marshes.

Falconer Phil Walters said: “It's a bit like when you put water on a patio - a bird's feathers are exactly the same. The water evaporates off in a mist and it cools them down.

Most Read

“When he is being hosed down, he will lift one wing up and then the other. He is waterproof. His feathers are quite water resistant. He loves having a shower.

“When it is raining he will sit out in the rain and he is quite happy.”

Liberty, who has lived at the Butterfly and Wildlife Park for 12 years is released above Long Sutton as part of a display for visitors. He can be in the air for the whole of the show.

Mr Walters said: “He is completely trained to do it. He knows where his food source is. When we whistle for him it means that food is available.

“On days like today he will go up and soar and he will soar in the thermals. When he flies we are looking at years and years of evolution.”

He added that their other birds also enjoyed spreading their wings and sunbathing. “They enjoy the heat in their feathers. They will dry themselves out by sunbathing. It will take him about 10 minutes to dry.”