On Saturday 23 June, we welcomed over 500 guests to our Music on the Wing fundraising evening; a celebration of music and birds. The weather was perfect, the music superb and the birds of prey magnificent.
It was a traditional British evening of entertainment, with many guests enjoying a delicious picnic with a bottle of Prosecco sat overlooking the stunning wildflower meadow, beautiful valley and wide-open skies – the perfect backdrop for a magical evening.
The London Military Band, conducted by Alan Shellard, performed a dazzling selection of well-known pieces adding a sense of glamour, sophistication and some touching moments to the first half of the evening as owls, Peregrine Falcons, a Kestrel and Bald Eagles flew high in the skies and over the heads of an excited audience.
Gary Benton, our Assistant Curator, and local performing arts teacher John Baxter hosted the evening with magnificent birds flying to music and fascinating talks on the history of falconry and the world of birds of prey.
There was a magical countryside scene from the 1940s in the meadow with land girls, farmers, a postman on his bike, a bee keeper and a blacksmith at work. Other highlights included Secretary Bird Dr No with Ryan Stephens, from our bird team who dressed as James Bond. A truly breath-taking moment in the evening occurred when a total of 25 birds: Black Kites, Storks, Hooded Vultures, Turkey Vultures, American Black Vultures and Sacred Ibis, were let out to fly all at once; a challenge to know which way to look.
The evening ended with a perfect grand finale as The British Army Parachute Display Team, the Red Devil’s, parachuted down from 6,000 feet in front of the stunning sunset.
The event raised funds to go towards our research and conservation work for birds of prey in the UK and around the world and we’d like to thank everybody who attended and those that were involved in making the event such a great success.