Study at home

Raptor Awards Distance Learning

Keeping, training and flying birds of prey is an Art and a Science. To keep a Hawk or Owl in a fit and healthy condition and to ensure its welfare you will need a complex combination of both practical skills and detailed knowledge.

You must understand what your bird needs and why it needs it. You must understand how to provide for its needs, and how its needs change according to such factors as the weather, amount of exercise, type and quality of food, the condition of your bird and the conditions in which it is kept.

For aviary birds you must learn to ‘read the signs’ that indicate good health, and be able to recognise when something is not quite right.

For free flying birds you must master a range of additional skills and knowledge to be able to bring your Hawk or Owl to the point where she is fit, ready to fly, and more importantly, ready to return to you afterwards.

Traditionally, falconers learned through one-to-one instruction or mentoring from an experienced falconer with long experience. Today, it is much more likely that you will attend a course at a recognised centre.

How can Home Study help me to learn?

All Raptor Awards certificated courses combine both the practical physical skills that you need to develop and the background knowledge that you have to learn. Raptor Awards has appointed a panel of Approved Instructor/assessors across the country and elsewhere who can guide you and assess your skills, knowledge and overall competence. Most of them run formal training courses. You must be assessed to receive certification for a full award. You can find approved instructor/assessors here

To support candidates who wish to study at home at their own pace, we have provided a series of online learning modules that cover all the basic husbandry skills. These include:

Accommodation / housing

Food and nutrition

Health and well being

Catching, restraining and transporting


The curriculum and the content of each module is approved by leading falconers and Raptor Vets.

Each lesson contains background information to each topic, recommended reading and texts, links to trusted sources of professional information on health, feeding etc, and an online test so that you can map your progress as you learn more. There is an online support service if you are struggling, and a team of approved instructor/assessors to help and support you.

You can begin your online learning journey from as little as £22.95 (initial registration, learning account, certification and UK postage).

The ‘Keeping birds of prey and owls Part 1 (theory) Award’ is the best place to start. Designed specifically with self-study at home in mind it gives a fantastic grounding in the essentials of bird of prey husbandry. – find out more here.

A certificate is issued for all candidates passing the theory course. You can present this to any Raptor Awards Instructor/assessor as evidence of your current level of knowledge and understanding.

Certification for the full Awards ‘Keeping Birds of Prey’, and ‘Training Birds of Prey’ are awarded when you have mastered the theory and practice.

Need more information?

Simply drop us a line at and we’ll be pleased to help.