Last Sunday, just before the MySQL Dev Meeting in Heidelberg ended, we went to see a falconry. Strictly speaking, the German Raptor Research Centre isn't a falconry (which is a commercial venture for raising falcons), but a privately funded research station dedicated to the preservation of birds of prey, or "Eagles, vultures & co" as they say on their home page at deutsche-greifenwarte.de. Their actions over the past 30 years have given concrete results for many raptors, such as the eagle-owl ("Uhu" in German and Swedish), which is no longer on the list of endangered species in Europe. The German Raptor Research Centre has successfully set out 37 sea eagles (Seeadler, havsÃƒÂ¶rn) in Central Europe, an admirable investment in nature which now including second and third generation offspring has grown to about 400 eagles.
Through a donation in part from MySQL GmbH, in part from MySQL AB, but mostly from individual MySQLers attending the Heidelberg Dev Mtg, Jim Starkey and I had the pleasure of handing over a cheque of 4500 euros to Bettina Fentzloff, the wife of the research centre's founder, Claus Fentzloff, who brought another falcon for the audience of MySQLers to admire. I hope the donation will enable the Deutsche Greifenwarte to give freedom (as in speech) to many birds of prey in Europe and worldwide!
Jim, as the creator of the Falcon engine, seemed to have a good hand also with the namesake birds.