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Falconry is the second oldest field sport in the world and was originally introduced over 40,000 years ago using larger birds of prey such as Eagles to provide meat for the dinner table. It then became the sport of Kings and Queens who used to participate in Falconry whilst riding horseback.
Falconry is all based on an element of trust with the bird, which in most cases are about 16 to 20 weeks old when they begin their training. Initially, the Falconer will carry the bird around introducing it to new situations to ensure that the bird gets used to various sights and scenarios. This will reduce the likelihood of the bird becoming 'spooked' once its Falconry training begins in earnest. Occasionally you will see hoods on Falcons, covering their eyes. This is because a Falcons eyesight is so much sharper than other birds and they have a tendency to be easily scared by unfamiliar situations.
Birds of prey are extremely lazy and will only fly for five main reasons; to hunt, to mark territory, to migrate, to find a breeding partner and for a passage bird (up to 12 months old) to look for its own territory. The rest of the time they will perch, slowly digesting any food they have eaten. In captivity their only reason to fly is for food as they already have a perch and flying ground. They have no need to migrate and when they become sexually mature they will be introduced to a suitable breeding partner. However, because of their routine of flying more regularly for food and their familiarity with humans, they actually fly more and at higher body weights than in the wild. In captivity birds of prey tend to be in a healthier and fitter condition than their wild cousins - birds of prey respond well to being tended by humans!
Here at the park we are very lucky to house thirteen magnificent Birds of Prey, including hawks, owls, falcons and kookaburra. From twenty-four year old female Harris hawk Hovis to our baby Southern White Faced Owl Pigwidgeon, you are sure to enjoy seeing our free flight presentations!
We have two displays a day:
11.30- Mad About Owls Display
15.30- Mixed Bird of Prey Display
Our displays last between 15-20 minutes and give you an insight into the magnificent world of Birds of Prey!
There is also the opportunity to handle a bird after the display and get your photograph taken by our park photographer- this costs £6.00 for one photo, or £10.00 for two photos.
Please note our displays take place from Easter to the end of October and are weather permitting. Handling after the shows are at our keepers discretion. Please listen out for announcements on the day.