Introduction to Falconry Experience

New for 2019, this is your opportunity to learn the basic bird handling techniques used in modern falconry!

Our Introduction to Falconry Experience differs from our Bird Handling Experiences, as it offers you the opportunity to learn basic falconry techniques. Starting at 10am, you will meet with one of our experienced falconers, who will show you to the private area of the Centre where the majority of your experience will take place. After a brief introduction (tea and coffee will be provided), you will learn introductory beginner's skills such as tying a falconer's knot, picking up a bird onto your gloved hand, carrying it, weighing it and even feeding a bird 'on the fist'. You will also learn about the history and modern practice of falconry, the most commonly used falconry equipment, terminology, and basic bird training, including flying a bird on a creance (training line) to have it land on your glove for a reward of food! Finally, you will head out into the countryside to witness the spectacle of a bird of prey in free flight in a natural environment. Your experience will then finish at around 12:30pm. Please note that this does not involve flying as many species as our Bird Handling Experiences, as you will be focussed on learning basic falconry skills and techniques. 

This experience costs £125 for one participant, £145 for one participant and one observer, or £175 for two participants. Spaces are strictly limited to a maximum of one participant and one observer OR two participants only. This experience is suitable for age 15+, but under 18's must be accompanied by an adult (either as an observer or co-participant). 

This experience will only be available for booking between 1st September until 30th April each year. Gift vouchers are available to buy all year and will be valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. 

A moderate degree of mobility and fitness is required for this experience as it will involve bending/crouching down to put a bird on a perch and pick it up again and for the walk into the countryside, which may involve walking on rough, rural terrain. Also this will involve walking to local woodland, approximately half a mile each way plus a short distance walking through the woods. We therefore regret that it is not suitable for wheelchair users; if you are not certain that this experience is appropriate for you or your intended recipient, we recommend looking at our Half Day or Owl Hour Bird Handling Experiences instead or contacting us for further information.

This Experience is not intended as a training course and it will not prepare you for training and keeping a bird of prey. It is only an introduction to the basics of bird handling and flying techniques used in falconry. IF YOU INTEND TO GET A BIRD OF PREY/OWL THEN WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU FIND AN APPROPRIATE TRAINING COURSE TO COMPLETE FIRST.

Frequently asked questions about our Introduction to Falconry Experience

How often do you run the Experiences and how far ahead do I need to book a date?

This experience is available to purchase all year but is only available for booking between 1st September to 30th April (weekend and weekdays). We operate on a first-come, first serve basis for all dates.To book a date we generally say as far in advance as possible, but occasionally we can accommodate people at short notice if places are available. Weekend dates are the most popular and can book up very quickly at certain times of the year. To book a date please call us on 01562 700014 during visitor centre opening hours.

Is this a formal training course? Will I be ready to get my own bird of prey after doing this experience?

It is important to emphasise that this is an experience, not a training course. This experience is not intended to, and nor will it, prepare you for getting your own bird of prey. This experience is designed only as an introduction to the rudimentary basics of falconry and how we fly birds of prey. It can be used as a precursor before doing a training course, but it will not replace the time and study that is required to thoroughly prepare you for the realities of buying, training, housing, equipping, feeding, flying and caring for your own bird. If you wish to own a bird of prey we strongly recommend that you find an appropriate training course to complete first, even after doing this introductory experience. At this time we do not offer any such courses here. 

I have paid online, how long does it take to receive the voucher?

We will email the voucher to you within 2 days of the payment. If you have requested a printed voucher, please allow at least 7 days for delivery.

How do I book a specific date when I pay for the voucher?

Unfortunately there is no way to book a date online, so if you wished to book a date when you purchase the experience, please call us to pay and book the date. If you prefer not to pay by card over the phone then you can arrange the date with us over the phone first and then pay online above.

How many participants are in a group?

We strictly limit this experience to a maximum of two people - this can either be one participant and one observer or two participants.

Is this Experience suitable for wheelchair users or people with limited mobility?

We regret that this experience is not suitable for wheelchair users and it does require a moderate degree of mobility and fitness. This experience will involve bending/crouching down to pick birds up and/or put them down on perches, standing for sustained periods while flying birds, and walking out into the local countryside (up to half a mile each way plus extra walking distance) across uneven/rural terrain. You will need full use of both hands to be able to hold birds and learn equipment/tying a falconers knot. If you are not certain that this Experience is suitable for you or your intended recipient, please telephone us on 01562 700014 and we will be happy to assist you.

I wish to purchase a voucher for two Participants - can they book separate dates?

The reduced price for two participants is on the provision that they do the experience together on the same date, so unfortunately it is not possible to book an experience for two on separate dates. Therefore, we will normally only issue one voucher with one reference number for booking on this basis. 

Can we take photographs?

Participants on our bird handling experiences are welcome to bring their own camera/ video cameras to take photographs during their time with us. Flash is also not a problem for the birds.

Can other people come and take photographs?

We strictly limit the number of people present on this experience to ensure participants enjoy the full learning and hands on elements of the experience. As such, one participant by themselves may be accompanied by one observer but we do not allow more than one observer. Where there are two participants booked on the same date we do not allow any additional observers to be present. If you are looking to bring a group with you, we recommend doing one of our Bird Handling Experiences instead. 

What happens if the weather is bad on the date of my experience?

We will run the experiences in most weather conditions, but we also want you to enjoy your experience. If the weather is predicted to be bad before your booked date, you can contact us to rearrange a new date.

Coronavirus Update: As a result of the Coronavirus / Covid-19 prevention measures, any voucher purchased at this time will be valid until the end of 2021.

Buy a 12-month gift voucher for an Introduction to Falconry Experience

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 One Participant - £125.00
 One Participant & One Observer - £145.00
 Two Participants - £175.00
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