Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a list of common questions that we are asked by people when they see the birds on display at a public event, flying show or in a similar situation.
Are the birds bred in captivity?
Yes, all the birds have been bred in captivity by various professional and semi professional breeders from around the UK. If any bird did not hatch into captivity, it would mean it is a wild bird. It is illegal to take a bird from the wild and make it captive and likewise, it is an offence to release a captive bird into the wild as it is considered cruel. This is because a captive bird may not adapt to hunting in the wild and is also more likely to be killed by another predator than a bird that was raised by parents in the wild. All our birds have either A10 or similar paperwork to prove that they are captive bred for commercial purposes and are therefore legal.
Do the birds mind being tethered to a perch most of the day?
No, as in the wild, birds of prey will perch almost all day, reserving energy, as this is the best way to survive. They almost only fly to feed, not for recreation. We mimic this need to fly as all of our birds fly for their food.
Do the birds ever have the chance to fly free?
Yes, every day. It is possible to visit a bird of prey centre and see birds tethered to a perch, which never fly free, (birds in aviaries can of course fly when they wish). We have no ‘static birds’. All our birds are trained to fly for the purpose of flying shows. Our birds fly free at least once every day, 365 days a year to ensure they have plenty of exercise and they remain trained to a high standard.
Why don’t the birds fly away when you release them?
All our birds are weight controlled. They are weighed every day before flying, which allows us to keep the weight at an ideal level. If a bird is underweight, it will have little energy to fly, therefore the flights will be short and the bird will be very aggressive. If overweight, the bird will not have a desire to fly as it won’t want food. The birds never fly away, as they know they are flying for their food which they get from us.
What do you feed the birds?
We provide the birds with a varied diet but mostly feed them day old chicks and mice. We buy the food from a certified farm that produces food specifically for raptors and reptiles and it is delivered frozen. We do not feed the birds with live prey.
Do you need any licences or any other requirements for business operation?
We have a valid ‘performing animals’ licence and relevant A10 forms for all the birds that require them. We also have sufficient public liability insurance, which is a general requirement for all business practices.
Do you do any conservation work?
Yes. Within our educational visits and presentations at various displays we inform people of what to do if they find an injured bird of prey. We take in injured birds and give them the food and care they require to survive before releasing them back into the wild. We also install nest boxes for native owls, which can give a bird a safe habitat in which to breed and reproduce.
How do you train the birds?
The majority of our birds of prey come to us as young babies, which we hand rear. This results in a very tame bird that is used to people and it’s surroundings. This makes training the bird to fly free possible. Some birds, like hawks and falcons, are ‘manned’. This is where the falconer spends a lot of time holding the bird until it becomes calm and used to the new person holding it. Training the birds to fly for the purpose of demonstrations is a careful process of finding the birds’ ideal flying weight, persuasion and practice. Once the bird is comfortable in what it is doing, the rest is down to keeping the training topped up.