Beginning with Birds of Prey and Owls – FAQs

How do I get started in falconry?

The easiest way to get started in falconry is to find an approved training provider who teaches to the National Standard and whose courses are properly quality assured and lead to recognised certificates: More information can be found here: Link to information:

How much does it cost to start falconry?

First you must decide if you intend to free-fly your bird of prey or owl, or if you simply want to keep a bird of prey or owl in an aviary? To build suitable and safe accommodation can easily cost at least £600 to £1,000. In addition you will have to buy special equipment for food preparation and cleaning etc. If you want to train your bird of prey or owl to fly free and come to your fist, you will need additional equipment such at a telemetry system. You can learn the basics of how to keep birds of prey (including owls) here: Link to information

How much does a falconer earn?

In the UK at least there are many opportunities to work with birds of prey either as a volunteer (a great way to get started), or as a paid job. Working as an employee for a commercial organisation such as a bird of prey centre, or a specialist pigeon and gull control business, you should expect to earn minimum wage at first. If you eventually open your own centre, or start your own specialist business then there are opportunities to earn good levels of income if you work hard. Film and TV work can be lucrative, but you will need high levels of skill and experience. You can check for any current job opportunities here: Link to information:

What is the best bird to start falconry?

If you are an absolute beginner you should not buy a bird of prey of any description until you have had some basic instruction or attended an approved course. Birds of prey or owls are not easy to keep and you need special knowledge and skills. They are unlike any other type of animal you may have had before. You will need a large robust bird of prey or owl to begin with as they are more able to tolerate the mistakes you will make without dying. Your choice of bird should also be influenced by whether you will fly it free, and the type of space you have available for flying. The best way to make a decision is to visit an approved bird of prey centre and talk to the falconers there or attend an approved course where choice of bird of prey will be included in the curriculum. Explain what you want to do and listen carefully to the advice they give you. You can find approved educational bird of prey centres near you here: Link to information

What is the best falcon for beginners?

There is no such thing as a ‘beginners falcon’. Most falcons that fall into the hands of inexperienced people either die or fly away and are lost. Falcons, hawks, eagles, owls all need specialist care and handling. If you are genuinely interested in owning a bird of prey then it is essential that you find a good mentor to guide you, or better yet, sign up for a properly certificated course to get you started. You can find a good basic course here: Link to information

Are pet owls legal in UK? Is an owl a good pet?

Yes, you can legally keep a pet owl in the UK, however, in the UK you must be at least 16 years of age to legally keep any animal. If you are not yet 16, then a parent or guardian will have to be responsible for the care and welfare of the owl, even if you do all the work. Why not visit a local bird of prey centre with ‘approved instructors’ who will chat to you. They will give you lots of free advice based on many years of experience. If you still want to keep an owl after that they will be able to teach you all that you need to know. Find properly approved bird of prey centres here: Link to information

Bird of prey courses – how to choose the right one.

In the UK at least there are dozens and dozens of people and places offering bird of prey courses, but how can you tell which are the best? Look for bird of prey centres or instructors who deliver courses based on the National Standards for Bird of Prey Welfare. These standards are drawn up by leading bird of prey experts, falconers and raptor vets in the UK and ensure that courses offered by Nationally Approved Instructors meet the best educational and welfare standards. Their longer courses are properly certificated by Raptor Awards, and quality assured. Try before you buy – find an approved local centre from the link below and pay them a visit. Chat through what you want to do and listen carefully to their advice. Try one of their ‘experience days’ first, or even ask if they would take you on as a volunteer. You can find a list of Approved National Instructors here: Link to directory.