Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Broken birds and beautiful buildings
On my return to Abu Dhabi, I made a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, bit of an under statement really, a beautiful building capable of holding over 40,000 worshippers. I was struck by the detail of the tiled flowers that adorned every pillar and floor tile in this giant place of worship. I also paid a visit to the Abu Dhabi Falcon hospital which was an experience I would highly recommend to anyone, especially if you remotely find birds of prey interesting. Falcons are the only animal permitted to sit with passengers on a flight and all birds have there own passport. Falconry is very popular in the UAE. Some sheiks own up to 200 birds and all of them go through for a check up at the hospital. I watched as vets replaced broken feathers with new ones, treated wounds and damaged talons whilst the birds were under anaesthetic. Most birds were hybrids, usually a peregrine cross with a value of around $10,000 AUD depending on the bird. It was a great experience to get up close to these beautiful birds.