Destination UK

Bird of Prey Experience Day with Xtreme Dorset Falconry Park

Posted on
June 18, 2024

I have always wanted to do a Bird of Prey Experience Day and finally, after a few years of hinting, my family bought me an experience day voucher for Christmas.

With the great British weather being very damp this year, I held off booking the experience until it was a bit warmer and drier and today was the day I finally got to handle some stunning birds of prey on their Ultimate Experience package.

Upon arrival, our instructor Kyle, gave us a full health and safety briefing, some facts about falconry, as well as clear instructions on how to stand and what to expect.

We then headed in to a small woodland display area, where we were introduced to our first bird of prey – Alfie, the Northern white faced owl.

Kyle is extremely knowledgeable about all the birds and as we flew Alfie between the perch and my hand, he talked us through his natural habitat, some of his skills, his personality and even how his eyes worked like binoculars.

Alfie was the smallest and lightest bird of the experience and soon it was time to move into a more open display area to meet a slightly larger bird – Hazel, a Common Kestrel.

As with Alfie, Kyle talked us through some facts about Hazel. Kestrels are common and widespread throughout the UK, however numbers are diminishing thanks to a loss of habitat and decreasing prey populations.

There is some brief respite time in between flying the birds as Kyle changes them over, which is a good opportunity to rest your arms, especially if you are having a single person experience like we did.

The birds you will experience flying get larger as the day goes on and next up was Milo, a Harris Hawk who is sometimes referred to as a Wolf Hawk as they like to live in packs in the wild.

The birds fly to you expecting to be fed, so do be aware that if you book an experience, you will have a chicken leg placed on your glove.

Our next bird to fly was Memphis, a Chilean Eagle Buzzard. These birds go through a dramatic colour change when they reach maturity; moulting brownish feathers and replacing them with this gorgeous blue-grey plumage.

They are hoping to mate him with Belle, a resident female, but although they lovingly built a nest together this year, sadly he is not quite mature enough yet. We did suggest music and candles might work next time.

Working with Memphis was different from flying the other birds of prey in the experience as he would circle the display area first, before approaching for a landing.

The final bird of the experience was an impressive 10lb 4oz Bald Eagle, Kojak and thankfully I didn’t fly him as he was heavy enough just to hold.

He was definitely the noisiest of all the birds and made a right old racket letting all the other species know he was there!

Our bird of prey experience lasted just over 90 minutes and brilliantly informative, but most of all fun!!

Dorset Falconry Park is open every day during the school holiday’s but Thursday – Sunday at other times. They have 127 birds on display and two daily flying shows at 11am and 3.30pm. Entrance prices are £12 per adult and £8 per child, with a family ticket costing £35.


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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog chelseamamma.co.uk