Benny is a falconer at Europe’s largest and oldest ornithological station for birds of prey in Berlebeck, Germany. He is responsible for the breeding and training of eagles Here is a Steppe eagle’s egg We help some of our young birds to hatch because we just want to make things more easy for them at the beginning of their lives. In the wild, it can take up to 48 hours for the baby bird to get out of the calcareous shell. At the moment, he is defenceless but one day, he will become the king of the skies. Two weeks later, his weight has increased five fold. He grows very quickly. And he has to because he will be fully grown in 90 days. Unfortunately his mother rejected him and that’s why he has to be reared by Benny. He takes over the role of the father. This bit of the oak is good, First, I make a rough cut and then the finer cut when we’re there. Then we want to make a new eyrie. Wait a moment, stand still … hey, it’s standing As would be the case in the wild, Benny has built the eyrie unevenly. Therefore the young eagle has to keep his balance and this trains his leg muscles. A new eyrie my friend, this will be good for you. Look, it’s fancy… At the age of 40 days, he’s almost unrecognizable. He takes his first steps over there on the rock. This is where he spends most of his time now. His sharp talons and the strong beak will later become perfect hunting weapons. The white plumage has changed to brown. The flight feathers then grow in a sleeve that slowly but surely disintegrates. He already has his full brown juvenile plumage after just 60 days. His wings have a span of 1.70 meters. He looks into the valley from the rock and gets used to the height. He will soon start his first flying exercises from here. Flapping his wings helps to train his strong breast muscles. However, is it possible for an eagle to learn how to fly without the help of an older bird? A falconer isn’t able to show him how to fly. Nevertheless, flying is really part of being a bird. It is really the same as a basic instinct, he can just do it, he trains himself and he just needs to get up the courage to fly off. In the meantime, the Steppe eagle is 80 days old. During flying shows, he observes the fully-grown birds while they’re flying. He will then be able to get his bearings from them. Sometimes though, he lets himself get sidetracked. Our Steppe eagle is now 90 days old. He should be making his first flight soon. Every day, we put him in front of the stall so that he can get used to his environment and perhaps he’ll even fly away for the first time today. The bird now trains himself. He practises all he needs on his own for killing his prey in the wild. His wings are strong. However he has not yet flown properly, but then the time comes… He’s managed the first few meters. Landing is a little more difficult but he’ll learn that in the next few days. He’s now doing the last stretching exercises before he gets his courage up. Now he gets going for his first time as Sky Stormer. He’s now ready to conquer the sky. His first safe flight makes Benny very proud. Accomplished. It wasn’t really a smooth landing but the eagle is unscathed. Benny knows: His Steppe eagle will become an excellent flier.