The birds of prey experiences have always been popular on our website, so when Charlotte and I were invited to take part in the falconry experience at Arden Falconry, Warwickshire, we were very excited. When we arrived at the location, there was a very spacious car park, which was helpful as this was walking distance from the falconry venue. The experience was located in a family orientated place. To get to the venue, we walked through a beautiful farm and a children’s parks. There were also small cafés so you could grab a bite to eat and enjoy the scenery.
Once we arrived at the Arden Falconry, we decided to walk around the facility, where the hawks and owls greeted us. We were amazed at all the different species of owls. I had never seen an owl or hawk in real life, and they are truly beautiful birds, even though the owls had such a funny expression on their face! Danielle, the owner kindly welcomed us and offered tea while we wandered around. She gave us an official tour, taking us to each enclosure were the birds were kept. She explained the history of the birds, and why they were given certain names. It was lovely to see the bond she had with the birds. Something that really interested me was when she explained that she is seen as the “top female”, meaning that the birds had a level of respect for her as their mother figure to some of the birds as she fed and looked after them. It was nice to see that the birds had a safe place to live as she explained that some were kept in captivity for years, while the others were either living in the wild or were given up by their previous owners.
After Danielle introduced us to the birds, she showed us a room that her and her colleagues designed themselves. The room included live footage from one of the bird’s cage. Danielle explained that during mating season and when the birds lay eggs. It is very funny/interesting to see how they behave! She explained that one time the male and female bird were both fighting to sit on their eggs to keep it warm.
The room was very creative and informative, with bird skulls, posters of interesting facts and handmade decorations, including a tree with images of different birds. Danielle said that children in particular often love playing in this room. We a few moments to explore it, Danielle then returned with a hawk named Tamora. The hawk was so eager to start training, that it was trying to fly while attached to the string!
We went to the training area; which was a big field. The field had metal rods that were used during this training session. Danielle gave Charlotte and I a brief on the Do’s and Don’ts when handling the birds, and we were then ready to take part in the experience. Charlotte went first - Danielle provided her with a glove and placed the meat between her fingers. The hawks then flew to Charlotte and sat on her arm while eating the food. To train the hawk, Danielle would move the rod further away as well as Charlotte moving further away. This meant the hawk would have to work harder and fly a longer distance to receive a “treat” which was the meat!
We then moved on to training the barn owl named Portia, Portia was my favourite bird whereas Charlotte said Tamora the hawk was her favourite as she was cheeky. I realised that the owl was calmer whereas the hawk was more mischievous. Danielle used the same training process for the owls. However, she did explain that owls do not have very good eyesight. This meant that when Portia would fly over to us for her treat, she couldn’t see the food on our hands, so we would often have to adjust our hands for her.
Overall, we had an amazing time taking part in this falconry experience, and I learned so much about the birds in in a short space of time. I would like to thank Danielle; she made this experience very informative and enjoyable.