Nature’s a Hoot: In Conversation with David Oakes

It’s no secret that here at the Hawk Conservancy Trust we love talking about birds of prey! But for many species across the world, things are not looking good. It’s arguably never been more important to get excited about nature than it is today.

In February, we were delighted to welcome actor, artist and fellow wildlife podcaster David Oakes to the Hawk Conservancy Trust. He joined our  Deputy Head of Living Collection Tom Morath for a chat all about finding time for nature, tracking Golden Eagles and how arts and creativity can support conservation for the next episode of our podcast – Nature’s a Hoot.

David has been visiting the Hawk Conservancy Trust since his childhood:

“I grew up in Fordingbridge, so I’m a New Forest boy. The first time I came to the Hawk Conservancy Trust was probably 35 years ago, back in the early days. So it’s been nice seeing how it’s changed and grown over the years and now coming here with my nieces and nephew and even bringing my own daughter here for the last few trips.”

You may have seen David in period dramas such as Vikings: Valhalla, Victoria and The White Queen, the latter where he got close to a Golden Eagle while filming a traditional falconry scene. His work in the thespian world has allowed him to explore wildlife across the world, fuelling his passion for the natural world. As well as running his own nature podcast, ‘Tree’s a Crowd’ David is also an ambassador for the Woodland Trust, the Wildlife Trusts and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

“Increasingly as the years have gone by, you see fewer and fewer birds of prey out in the wild. So it’s nice to actually come [to the Hawk Conservancy Trust] and see a great selection of birds that are being well looked after… I think there’s nothing more important than to keep people talking about the environment. I think at the moment we’re in danger of it being taken for granted.”

In the UK, we live in one of the most nature-depleted regions of the world. But amid this doom and gloom, we have to find some light at the end of the tunnel. Finding multiple ways to communicate to different audiences about the wildlife all around us is key to bringing everyone on board with our mission to conserve birds of prey. This is something Tom, the presenter of Nature’s a Hoot, and David Oakes have a shared passion for. Tom said:

“It was really special to welcome David to the Trust to chat all about the wonderful world of birds of prey, and how important it is that creativity and conservation are both needed to work together for nature. It felt that David and I shared that belief that it takes more than just facts and figures to inspire an audience, and I get the sense that we need more ideas than ever if we’re to turn the tide on the fortunes of our beloved birds of prey – so many of them now facing odds stacked against them.”

You can hear their full conversation on the new episode of Nature’s a Hoot – our podcast dedicated to birds of prey and their place in the natural world. Listen now wherever you get your podcasts!

©2024 Hawk Conservancy Trust