About 140 adults and children were delighted to meet some of the fastest creatures on the planet at the Glenlyon Dam this month.
They got up close and personal to Jedda the nanking kestral, Cleo the peregrine falcon, Mokey the boobook owl and Pickles the australian hobby (little falcon).
They learnt how falcons can achieve speeds of up to 237 kilometres an hour, and how they were almost extinct due to the chemical DDT which impacted on their ability to produce calcium, and left them with soft egg shells. Children were fascinated to learn how boo-book owls can turn their heads almost 270 degrees, and fly completely silent due to their soft feathers, and how the Australian hobby can collect dragon flies in mid flight.
The birds of prey were brought to the dam by the Leigh Valley Hawk and Owl Sanctuary, which teaches conservation through wild encounters.
"These birds are perfectly adapted to the environment in which they live, and that environment is the environment they share with us," handler Martin Scuffins said.
"It's up to us to protect their habitat. Species minus habitat equals extinction. We don't own the environment, it belongs to these creatures as well."
It was the first event in What's In Our Backyard At Glenlyon?, a series of Sunday nature studies events being run by Glenlyon Upper Loddon Landcare Group and the Glenlyon Progress Association. Funding was provided by Hepburn Wind, Bendigo Bank, and Hepburn Shire.