Falconry Experience Days allow you to get up close and personal with a variety of birds of prey. It makes an ideal gift for animal lovers. You get to learn about the birds, handle and fly them. There are tailored birds of prey experiences suited for younger children where they can handle smaller birds whilst watching the bigger birds in display. On birds of prey experience days for teens and adults you get to handle more birds, learn to use different lures and to fly falcons. There are of course plenty of opportunities for some great photos.
Skills – Strength: 1, Balance: 5, Flexibility: 1, Agility: 1, Coordination: 10
Time needed: travelling time + 1 hour, Cost to try: £30
Falconry – Hawk landing on a gloved hand
Origins of Falconry
Falconry dates back to earlier than 2000BC. That’s over 4000 years ago! Falcons were used in Mongolia and Ancient Egypt by both the aristocracy and common people alike. Falconry is the use of birds of prey to hunt wild quarry in its natural habitat.
Falconry or hawking is a sport which involves the use of trained birds of prey to hunt or pursue game for humans.
Falconry is the ancient pastime of hunting using a bird of prey. the type of bird you flew indicated your status, from kestrel to eagle.
Falconry is still practised today in countries all over the world. The most favoured birds for a falconer is the goshawk and peregrine falcon. Falconry is still an important part of Arab culture, with huge amounts of investment in the protection and conservation of wild falcons.
Depending on the prey, different birds are used. Golden Eagles are used to catch larger prey such as foxes.
If you would rather just watch from a distance, falconry displays and demonstrations take place all over the country. The easiest way to find one is to search online for bird of prey centres.
It takes a while to become trained to handle birds of prey properly, however you can get the chance to experience what is involved from a falconry experience. There are plenty of birds of prey centres such as the falconry centre in the Cotswolds or the falconry centre in Yorkshire.
Bird of Prey centres look after a wide range of birds. Owls, falcons, eagles and buzzards can all be viewed resting on perches, and at set times throughout the day there will be flying displays. Falconers will exercise the birds of prey by encouraging them to chase a lure which has food attached to it. They will use either a swinging lure, or a drag lure. Falconers at birds of prey displays will usually get some child from the audience to run around the arena dragging a lure on the end of a piece of rope. The falcon will always manage to catch the child, er I mean the lure. Not surprising when falcons can fly at up to 390 km/h (242 mph).
Owl Experience Days for Kids
For younger children, you can book a three hour session that will include:
- handling and flying various owls.
- learning how to identify owls.
- dissecting an owl pellet to see what owls eat.
Falconry Experience Days for Teens and Adults
For adults, falconry experience days encompass the handling and flying of owls, falcons and larger birds such as golden eagles. They will introduce you to the art of falconry and let you handle the birds under supervision, and fly them to catch some prey. The half day session includes:
- looking after the birds
- weighing and feeding birds
- training young birds
- handling and flying a variety of bird species
- trying your hand at swinging a lure
- learning how to track a radio transmitter
- present your own flying display.
Where to find out more about Falconry Experience Days
For about £60 for a half day falconry experience, you can learn different methods of holding, walking with and flying a variety of birds of prey.
For about £100 you can have a full day of falconry. This will often going out into the countryside to fly a bird of prey. This is a truly amazing experience.