Wings 'n' Things

Falconry is an ancient pastime, which has been enjoyed by princes and knaves alike across the centuries.  Back in the 1400's, the type of bird you were allowed to fly was dependent on your station in life.  If you were fortunate enough to be a king, for example, your bird of choice would undoubtedly be an eagle or a vulture.  For a servant, however, the humble kestrel would have to suffice.

These days, thankfully, it’s more about making an informed choice as people remain interested in natural history, with many choosing to keep birds of prey for a variety of reasons.

This being the case at S.O.S. we strongly believe that a good understanding of handling raptors and knowing the requirements for their care is paramount before embarking on acquiring one, which is why we offer a range of courses for this very purpose.

It’s also very encouraging that so many youngsters are interested in falconry, so our junior half-day experiences and six-day courses (spread out a day a week for six weeks) are ideal for giving them a comprehensive start on the road to owning a bird of prey.

On our courses, youngsters receive a basic grounding in the care of raptors at home, emphasising aspects of general health care, weight management, feeding and cleaning that are a necessary part of keeping a captive bird of prey humanely and with consideration.  We aim to make our junior courses fun as well as informative, including lots of hands-on opportunities with some of the world’s most stunning birds of prey.

A typical day early on in a six-part course includes learning to hold a bird on the fist, hooding a model bird, feeding a bird on the fist and practicing how to tie the tricky falconer’s knot (the latter is fiddly enough when you’ve only got a perch on the other end of your leash – factor in a glove and a live bird and that’s when confusion really sets in!) As the course progresses, there are all sorts of other important & interesting things to learn about diets, feeding, husbandry - for example, ‘imping’, a process whereby a moulted feather can be re-attached in place of a broken one, plus other essentials like what should be the contents of a raptor first aid box. As the course draws to a close, young participants are given the opportunity to experience at first hand the thrill of having hawks and owls flying free to and from the fist.

Details of our junior and adult courses can be obtained
here on our website or you can call us and one of our team will be happy to give you more information.