Anixter helps secure Ireland’s National Bird Of Prey Centre

Anixter helps secure Ireland’s National Bird Of Prey Centre
The National Bird of Prey Centre is an outdoor educational centre founded by Tom Byrne and Carol Fitzpatrick. The centre is located within the grounds of the magnificent Russborough House in Wicklow, Ireland, which boasts spectacular natural surroundings and provides the perfect setting to observe, rear, train and fly the captivating birds of prey that reside at the centre.

The central objective of the centre is to ensure every visitor has a memorable experience and leaves with a newfound respect for these masterful hunters. Visitors to the centre can request a personal guided tour and experience close encounters with various species of eagles, hawks, falcons and owls.

Brendan McDonald, vice president of sales at Anixter, visited the National Bird of Prey Centre in April 2017, when he was gifted a Hawk Walk Experience as a birthday gift from his wife. During the tour, Brendan enquired as to whether the centre had cameras in the aviaries. He felt that the installation of cameras could not only help improve the security of the facility but also assist with their educational objectives and ambitions. While speaking with Tom, he learned that having cameras in the aviaries was desirable, but the centre didn’t have sufficient funding to install them. Brendan left that afternoon determined to find a way for Anixter to support the centre.

Partnering together to get the job done

Anixter—along with its supplier partner, Axis Communications, and local integrator, Evolution (Electronic Security Systems)—were delighted to contribute to such a worthy cause and agreed to design and install a pro-bono security system throughout the aviaries, allowing the staff 24-hour visibility of the birds. "Being able to help the centre aligned with what Axis values as a company. We could see the merit in what they were trying to do and the impact the centre had on the community, so it was really a no-brainer for us to get involved," said Peter Dempsey, Irish key account manager for Axis. At first, Tom was skeptical of the offer because it sounded too good to be true. "After realising it was a genuine offer, I was absolutely floored by the generosity," said Tom.

Axis provided eight cameras and a recorder, while Evolution designed, installed and tested the system, which also included Panduit external-grade cabling, patch panels, a wire rack for terminated cables and monitors for visitors to view the video stream. In all, the project took six months. "We were delighted to be involved with this project. It’s a great experience to be able to use your skills and knowledge to help educate children and enrich the community all while giving back to a fantastic not-for-profit," said Mark Corrigan, country manager, Ireland, for Evolution.

Observing the impact on the community

In addition to providing security for the centre, the security system has helped facilitate their educational ambitions and contributed significantly to their breeding programme. The centre recently celebrated the birth of a hybrid breed of baby falcons, which were conceived through artificial insemination. There is only a five-hour window during which the artificial insemination can take place to successfully produce fertilised eggs. The cameras installed by Anixter and their partners allow Tom to monitor the birds and make the one-hour journey to the centre if this window of opportunity emerges outside of working hours.

Tom recently announced the successful breeding of a Lanner Falcon and said the new cameras allowed him to keep a close eye on the baby falcon during his critical early days. The young falcon is now in training and has affectionately been named Alfie Anixter!

Working with Tom and his team has proved to be an extremely rewarding experience for Anixter and its partners. “What’s great about this project is it shows how companies and individuals can pool resources and work together to make a real difference in our communities. There are so many not-for-profit organisations that can benefit from local, proactive assistance and community involvement,” said Brendan. “We all look forward to watching Alfie grow up and develop his hunting skills!”
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