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General Chat Thread, Birds of prey in General; Anyone own one, or fly some regularly? I'm very interested in getting one, but don't worry - I'm not the ...
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    Jawloms's Avatar
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    Birds of prey

    Anyone own one, or fly some regularly? I'm very interested in getting one, but don't worry - I'm not the sort of idiot who will just rush off and buy one like you would a cat or a guinea pig or something easy to look after. If I can't do it properly, I won't do it as it's not fair on the bird.

    Just wondered if anyone had any tips, look-out-fors, or any other advice. I am aware there's quite an initial outlay to buy the bird, the tracking device etc. I'm going to try and find a local group of others who do it, but I'm struggling at the moment. I live in a very small town surrounded by plenty of farm land so I have (so long as the farmers allow me of course) plenty of space to fly it.

    Thank you for anything.

    Stuart

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    Garacesh's Avatar
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    Casual trip down to Pets at Home.. Buy a Falcon. Standard.

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    featured_spectre's Avatar
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    I don't own any, however my garden is frequented by owls, sparrowhawks and peregrine falcons.

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    AMLightfoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jawloms View Post
    Anyone own one, or fly some regularly? I'm very interested in getting one, but don't worry - I'm not the sort of idiot who will just rush off and buy one like you would a cat or a guinea pig or something easy to look after. If I can't do it properly, I won't do it as it's not fair on the bird.

    Just wondered if anyone had any tips, look-out-fors, or any other advice. I am aware there's quite an initial outlay to buy the bird, the tracking device etc. I'm going to try and find a local group of others who do it, but I'm struggling at the moment. I live in a very small town surrounded by plenty of farm land so I have (so long as the farmers allow me of course) plenty of space to fly it.

    Thank you for anything.

    Stuart
    I can't comment on your original question but I can say:

    Your comment that 'you're not an idiot who'd rush off and buy one thinking they are easy to look after like a cat or guinea pig' is a bit misinformed. I own a Cat and 4 Rabbits and trust me, none of them are 'easy' to look after. Any pet, any at all, even goldfish require good, responsible care. A pet is a living, autonomous individual and it makes me desperately sad when an animal is forced to live in a horrible environment or suffer the consequences of the ignorance of humans. The Rabbits in particular do a LOT of poo. So much poo that our compost bin is full. Although it has to be said that keeping Rabbits certainly makes for a regular supply of compost for the veg patch. Even having Enzo (my cat) neutered was hard for me because if the position were reversed, would I want to be taken somewhere, put to sleep and wake up without my reproductive organs, in terrible pain? It's partly why I don't agree with animal euthanasia but I don't want this to turn into a rant because that's not my intention at all. The point I wanted to emphasise was that if someone were to 'own' an animal, it is their responsibility to give that animal the best and most natural life experience they can. Where Birds of Prey are concerned are you in a position to dedicate a lot of time and money to flying your bird? If I were a bird I'd want to fly as often as possible so does your lifestyle allow you to dedicate that much time? What about mating? Will your Bird be breeding? I'm not sure of the dietary needs but I'm certain dead mice feature prominently and I know a colleague who keeps pet snakes says he has to buy boxes of dead mice and keep them in the freezer. When you're at work how will your Bird occupy it's time? In the wild they spend their time hunting and raising chicks. I'm not sure it's mentally healthy for a Bird to be tethered to a roost for 12 hours with nothing to do.

    Have you thought about volunteering at Owl and Bird of Prey sanctuaries - you could get involved in the day to day care of Birds of Prey to get an idea of their needs and the costs involved before you invest in one of your own?

    Re: Farmers. You might be able to get something out of the negotiation as farmers have a lot of trouble with birds and rodents so flying a bird of prey over their land might be doing them a favour. Although only if they're farming crops. If you're tromping over land and disturbing dairy cattle they won't be happy.

  5. Thanks to AMLightfoot from:

    Jawloms (3rd June 2014)

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    Jawloms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    I can't comment on your original question but I can say:

    Your comment that 'you're not an idiot who'd rush off and buy one thinking they are easy to look after like a cat or guinea pig' is a bit misinformed. I own a Cat and 4 Rabbits and trust me, none of them are 'easy' to look after. Any pet, any at all, even goldfish require good, responsible care. A pet is a living, autonomous individual and it makes me desperately sad when an animal is forced to live in a horrible environment or suffer the consequences of the ignorance of humans. The Rabbits in particular do a LOT of poo. So much poo that our compost bin is full. Although it has to be said that keeping Rabbits certainly makes for a regular supply of compost for the veg patch. Even having Enzo (my cat) neutered was hard for me because if the position were reversed, would I want to be taken somewhere, put to sleep and wake up without my reproductive organs, in terrible pain? It's partly why I don't agree with animal euthanasia but I don't want this to turn into a rant because that's not my intention at all. The point I wanted to emphasise was that if someone were to 'own' an animal, it is their responsibility to give that animal the best and most natural life experience they can.
    It was not misinformed, just perhaps could have been worded better. I have a cat and some rabbits too. They are looked after well. I suppose what I should have said rather than 'easy to look after' is 'one that loads of people have so resources on how to look after them are so readily available, any vet will look at them, and food can be bought at the local tesco' etc. I am well aware of animals needs and do look after them properly. Due to circumstances outside my control I went through a phase with my rabbits where I couldn't look after them properly and investigated what was the best thing to do with/for them rather than them have a poor quality of life with me, but fortunately I came out the other side of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    Where Birds of Prey are concerned are you in a position to dedicate a lot of time and money to flying your bird? If I were a bird I'd want to fly as often as possible so does your lifestyle allow you to dedicate that much time? What about mating? Will your Bird be breeding? I'm not sure of the dietary needs but I'm certain dead mice feature prominently and I know a colleague who keeps pet snakes says he has to buy boxes of dead mice and keep them in the freezer. When you're at work how will your Bird occupy it's time? In the wild they spend their time hunting and raising chicks. I'm not sure it's mentally healthy for a Bird to be tethered to a roost for 12 hours with nothing to do.
    This is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking in to, and was really asking if anyone here had birds and could give an idea. I suspect that due to the answers to a lot of these questions, I am going to decide that I can't have one. I will not get one if I can't do it well.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    Have you thought about volunteering at Owl and Bird of Prey sanctuaries - you could get involved in the day to day care of Birds of Prey to get an idea of their needs and the costs involved before you invest in one of your own?
    Yes I have. Stonham Barns is not too far away from me. If I get one, it wouldn't be for a long period of time after I have been comfortably handling them elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    Re: Farmers. You might be able to get something out of the negotiation as farmers have a lot of trouble with birds and rodents so flying a bird of prey over their land might be doing them a favour. Although only if they're farming crops. If you're tromping over land and disturbing dairy cattle they won't be happy.
    That's along the lines I was thinking.

    Thank you very much for your reply. I would like to re-assure you, I am not taking this lightly and am perfectly happy to accept that it's not right for me if it isn't.

    Stuart

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    AMLightfoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jawloms View Post
    It was not misinformed, just perhaps could have been worded better. I have a cat and some rabbits too. They are looked after well. I suppose what I should have said rather than 'easy to look after' is 'one that loads of people have so resources on how to look after them are so readily available, any vet will look at them, and food can be bought at the local tesco' etc. I am well aware of animals needs and do look after them properly. Due to circumstances outside my control I went through a phase with my rabbits where I couldn't look after them properly and investigated what was the best thing to do with/for them rather than them have a poor quality of life with me, but fortunately I came out the other side of that.
    Yes, that clarifies things a bit. I have to agree that finding a 'specialist' vet can be difficult (and expensive). You certainly can't rock up to your local vet practice with a Falcon lol. In this day and age of internet shopping I think the availability of 'exotic' animal food is probably the easiest it's ever been, but it is very dependant on post. I'm sure Pets at Home do frozen mice and stuff suitable for Snakes and Birds of Prey (I'm sorry but the live insects down the reptile care aisle are squicky) so I expect the food side of things probably isn't as complicated as it could be. I know I tend to order all my pet food on Amazon - I have Amazon prime so I get it next day. I used to use medicanimal.com but the prices on Amazon are the same and I might as well make use of my Prime membership. My cat gets Royal Canin and I think it says something about the quality that the biscuits smell really tasty even to me.

    I have to say though that having a Bird of Prey sounds wonderful. They are beautiful creatures and every time I've attended falconry demos and 'met' Owls at sanctuaries I've come away yearning to have one.

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    There's often jobs like the falconers that fly them over Wimbledon during the tennis to keep the Pigeons out of the way too. If you're near Stonham you're not a million miles away from Pensthorpe. Make a day out in August to come up here, they have a Medieval experience over a few days with jousting etc they whole reserve gets turned into a huge Medieval village and (getting to the point) they have lots of hunting birds there. The guys that own them are really friendly and i'd expect you could get some fantastic advice and experience as well as enjoy an epic day out.

    We go every year as we have season tickets so it's free but it really is worth a visit. There's often a chap there with a tame Raven too brilliant stuff, plus if you get into it there's all the re-enactment stuff you can get involved with too like this.

    Got a bit of a treat last night heard lots of twitting outside and there was a family of what I presume were fledgling Tawny Owls sitting on next doors chimney then the parents came in there were about 4/5 of them in total making an epic noise. We have a barn owl we see from the living room window and often see Buzzards and Marsh Harriers too. In fact before we broke up for half term I was watching 2 Buzzards circle the field opposite my office. Just up the road there are Montague Harriers and Red Kites too. Last year we even had a White Tailed Sea Eagle go over, absolutely stunning!!

    I don't do any bird handling myself but it's something i've always fancied a crack at and the wife loves it too, once the kids are a bit older it's certainly something we'd all like to get involved with as suggested might volunteer at Sculthorpe Moor (just up the road from Pensthorpe).

    Keep us updated on how you're getting on, i'd be very interested to hear.

  9. Thanks to Bananas from:

    Jawloms (3rd June 2014)



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