Falconry is a highly regulated and time-consuming sport, so if you’ve been considering getting started with it, then you need to be aware of these facts. If that doesn’t bother you then read on to find out how to start in falconry.
What is Falconry?
Falconry is a rural sport that involves birds of prey who are trained to hunt game. Traditionally reserved for the rural aristocracy it is now open to anybody with the perseverance and patience. The game that the birds of prey are usually trained to catch are rabbits, hares, other birds and so on.
The types of birds used in falconry vary, but they usually include Harris’s Hawk, which is the most common within the sport. There are lots bred in captivity in the UK. Falcons also pop in falconry, funnily enough, and are used to hunt other birds such as pheasants or other game birds. Kestrels are often recommended to beginners although they are considered to be too delicate by many established falconers.
Is Falconry legal?
Under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, it is illegal to capture wild birds of prey, whether you intend to use them for falconry or not. However licenses to breed birds of prey are no longer available in the UK so you can only procure birds of prey if they have been bred in captivity. UK law does not specify which types of birds of prey can be owned, nor the quantity thereof. Birds of prey must be registered with the Department of Education. So, make sure that everything is legal and above board before you get started with falconry!
Buying harris hawks for example, is easy. Take a look at Birds of Prey Adsto get a general idea of average prices and see some of the Harris hawks for sale. You will also need to buy a hawk house to keep the hawk in, as well as a glove, scales and the hawk’s bells and hood. This will all ramp up the price.
Going on a Falconry course could be helpful in terms of learning what sort of food birds of prey require, and the laws concerning them, for example.
When it comes to training your bird of prey time is of an issue. You’ll need about 12 hours a week for six weeks to teach your bird of prey the basics. So, make sure you have this sort of time available, and get started with falconry! You should find it to be a rewarding pastime if you have ever had an interest in it.