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Falconry experience in Surrey makes the perfect Christmas gift

PUBLISHED: 12:29 07 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:32 07 October 2014

Archant

Falconry used to be the sport of kings but now we can all have the chance to experience falconry with Hawk on the Wild Side and their magnificent birds of prey.

A Hawk on the Wild Side Gift Voucher, buy one now and it is valid until the end of December 2015, makes the perfect Christmas gift. Falconry experiences available range from a one hour taster experience to a full day of one-one tuition, flying birds of prey and learning the techniques of the ancient art of falconry. Hawk on the Wild Side experiences are available throughout the year, but spring and autumn are often the best times of year for falconry.

The Flying Squad includes hawks, owls, kestrels, buzzards, eagles, falcons and vultures, which means you get to meet a varied selection of birds of prey during your experience. “Our most popular experience is our half-day bird of prey handling experience, where guests meet, handle and fly up to five different birds of prey, “says Angela the Falconer, “ but, for owl lovers, there are special Owl Experiences in spring and autumn” she adds. The more energetically minded will love the hawk walk, a two hour country ramble where the hawk follows on, flying from tree to tree before gliding majestically to your gloved fist.

This year has seen the Hawk on the Wild Side team performing live at the Barbican Theatre in London, and on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch as well as having their hawks featuring in a music video. “Appearing at the Barbican was a memorable experience,” says Angela, “and we were so proud of Inti the vulture who amazed everyone with his affable personality.” This has been combined with appearing at school fetes, country fairs and performing for the National Trust. Hawk on the Wild Side also appear regularly at Denbies Vinyard, where they provide corporate entertainment.

With a passion for both falconry and birds of prey it is perhaps not surprising that the team have been active in taking the conservation message to the public. They have been in Kingston upon Thames and in Watford Town Centres. They have also done several educational talks, for schools and charities such as Parkinson’s UK.

Always looking for new challenges, Hawk on the Wild Side have been busy creating new experiences for 2015. The first to be announced is the new ‘Best of British’ experience, which showcases British birds of prey and gives guests the chance to get up close and personal with the birds that they might see from afar in the wild. The experience will include iconic British birds such as the barn owl, kestrel and a peregrine. To celebrate the continuing union of our United Kingdom, this special experience will be available only four times in the year, to mark the days of the patron saints of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Hawk on the Wild Side is a family run business with a shared passion for falconry. “Looking after birds of prey can be hard as it is more complicated than people imagine,” says Angela, “But it’s all worth it when I see our birds flying free, riding the wind, and then returning to the glove. It is a privilege to be up close to a bird of prey. And when I see the immense joy they bring to our guests on our experience days, I know that they are experiencing the same passion for birds of prey that we feel every day.”

***

www.hawkonthewildside.co.uk

flyingsquad@hawkonthewildside.co.uk

0844 911 9453

Hawk, PO Box 586, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 9HJ

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