This reviews was sent in by Adam who was give a falconry gift experience voucher for his birthday and wanted to share what falconry is really like and why it’s brilliant for anyone who loves the great outdoors!
For starters, falconry isn’t something I, or most people would really consider doing. We’ve all probably seen birds of prey flying about at fairs, shows or on the telly, but doing for real, for yourself isn’t something many people think about.
So when my girlfriend told bought me a gift experience for my birthday, it came as a surprise. I suppose all those jokes I’d made about being fond of ‘birds’ well and truly backfired? It was only a matter of time before I ‘ruffled her feathers’, so I couldn’t really get’in a flap’ about it.
Okay, enough bad jokes, let’s get on to my review!
Because there isn’t a huge demand for falconry, there was plenty of availability. However, like many outdoor experiences, the weather conditions have to be right. So I ended up making a last minute mid-week booking and had to take a day off work, rather than a weekend.
I drove all the way up towards Leicester and out into the countryside to find a lovely rustic house set in the middle of a lush green valley. It was absolutely stunning. And this would be where all the falconry takes place!
After a very warm welcome the group of people who had turned up with gathered together for a quick briefing, before the people living there introduced us to their diverse collection of birds, from tawney owls to majestic hawks and awe inspiring eagles.
The larger birds of prey had a certain primal majesty about them and they certainly weren’t afraid to look you straight in the eye! It was at this point the group I was with were told how their beak and talons were sharp enough to tear straight through a man’s skull. Not the most comforting thought…
But it’s an interesting feeling when youíre up that close. Somewhere between fear, awe and a lot of respect for the wild animal that’s probably trying to work you out as well. Then we were out in the field, flying hawks from post to glove and back again. It sounds simple, but when a bird of prey is flying towards you at 80 mph, standing your ground, arm steady and glove ready, takes a lot of practice.
You just have to stand confidently and try not to flinch, which is a lot harder than it sounds when a hawk is speeding towards you. You just have to remind yourself that they are well trained animals and that you’re the one in control.
Thankfully, the birds aren’t too heavy when they land. And a hawk perched on your fist is really cool. But the best part of the day was after lunch, when we took the hawks out for a walk.
Despite the bright blue skies, the valley was chilly to say the least, so the hot soup with crusty roll for lunch was enjoyed by all. Then our group headed back out to walk across the fields and let the hawks fly, perch, hunt and soar above us.
While there were a handful of people in our group, the hawk walk felt a very personal experience as my hawk flew overhead, came to my hand and then flew off again into the trees and back again.
On the walk they talked about all the different birds as well as the history of falconry in general and how falcons and hawks had been used for hunting throughout the centuries.
By the time we walked back to the house it was beginning the get dark. Many of us grabbed a quick coffee and thanked our hosts before heading home. Like myself, people had driven from far and wide for the experience. And it had been an excellent experience, as well as a long and full day.
Falconry Experience Summed Up
I was absolutely blown away by the whole day, from handling and feeding all the different birds to flying them all over the valley, which is absolutely spectacular as well. So Iíd definitely recommend this for anyone.
While itís not something I would have chosen to have done, now having been there and done it, I’d definitely recommend falconry to absolutely everyone – especially if they love nature and the great outdoors.
Truthfully, I’m surprised more walkers, hikers, trail runners and general outdoor sports lovers aren’t into falconry as well. It really is fantastic, and although not as physically draining, your left arm does get tired quickly! Hopefully youíve found my review informative and if youíve always fancied giving falconry a go, I think you definitely should. I’ve been talking about it for weeks ever since.