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Hawk Conservancy Experience

Updated on August 24, 2013

A Close Up Experience with Hawks and Birds of Prey

Welcome to our Hawk Conservancy Experience, we hope you will enjoy your time here. Spending time with any of natures wild animals is always an educational privilege and pleasurable experience and non less so than the day we spent in the company of Hawks and Birds of Prey at the Hawk Conservancy in Andover UK.

Both my wife and I are great fans of nature's wildlife and especially the great carnivores and raptors of the World. So when we decided to pay a visit to the Hawk Conservancy we were excited but slightly unsure about what to expect.

We shouldn't have been concerned as the venues features, facilities and entertainment all made for a really enjoyable and memorable day.

We would like to share this day with you using some of the pictures I managed to capture on my camera as well as personal accounts of our day from both my wife and myself. We hope you enjoy these enough to leave us your own feedback and thoughts on this site using the guestbook found at the bottom of this page.

A Day in the Company of Birds of Prey - Magnificent Displays by Some of The World's Greatest Raptors

Falconer Holding Falcon 001 by Clive Anderson July 2012
Falconer Holding Falcon 001 by Clive Anderson July 2012

Located in a beautiful part of the British Countryside and with over a 150 birds of prey on view, housed, and beautifully displayed the Conservancy's size and scale is quite impressive and yet it still maintains a traditional secluded woodland look and feel.

Their friendly and helpful staff greeted us upon arrival and provided us with all the details and information on the day's events and activities so that we would not miss anything.

The facilities were ample which means children of all ages and disabled visitors to the Hawk Conservancy Trust are catered for. It seemed that no matter how far we ventured into the aviary areas which are set in beautiful woodlands there was always a clean toilet facility close by.

The flying displays were outstanding and were held at several times throughout the day, each time with a different species of bird of prey and some with multiple species so as to demonstrate hawk group flying as well as their hunting and speed abilities.

The care and respect that was shown and demonstrated by all the bird handlers and carers was admirable and their extensive knowledge and abilities showed that they take what they do and are trying to achieve at the Hawk Conservancy very seriously. Their love and admiration of these beautiful but deadly birds was clear to see.

With several hides facing onto a 7 acre wild meadow the opportunity for spotting wild birds of prey was also an enjoyable one. The falconers place food at a specific spot in the meadow twice a day this encourages wild species such as herons, red kites, kestrels and other birds of prey into the meadow so they can be seen close-up.

The two main arenas also located in front of the meadow offer a great vantage point for enjoying the interactive bird displays which happen quite often throughout the day.

The Masterful Stare of a Golden Eagle - A Mesmerising Bird of Prey Not to be Messed With

Golden Eagle Close-up 002 by Clive Anderson
Golden Eagle Close-up 002 by Clive Anderson

This beautiful Golden Eagle was on one of the external perches that are located in special areas throughout the Conservancy. As you can see it is a very impressive raptor that comes with a wingspan exceeding 6 feet.

Judging by the look on his face and the stare of his eyes I think his mind was firmly fixed on dinner.

A Respectful Admiration of a Golden Eagle - Powerful Talons Combined with Speed and Agility Makes the Golden Eagle an Ideal Hunter

Golden Eagle Close-up 001 by Clive Anderson
Golden Eagle Close-up 001 by Clive Anderson

Being that close to a creature that is at the top of its species food-chain such as the Golden Eagle is to the Bird World was certainly an uplifting experience.

This picture was also taken on one of the external perches allow you get up close and personal with some of these magnificent creatures.

A Golden Predator With Polished Poise - When it Comes to Posture a Golden Eagle Knows How to Impress

Golden Eagle Close-up 004 by Clive Anderson
Golden Eagle Close-up 004 by Clive Anderson

This picture shows the Golden Eagle has a great profile with the legendary hooked beak in clear view.

The Magnificent Bald Eagle - A Fish Eater with Attitude and Looks that can Kill

Falconer Holding Bald Eagle 001 by Clive Anderson
Falconer Holding Bald Eagle 001 by Clive Anderson

While the Bald Eagle enjoys a preferred diet of fish its food sources extend to pretty much anything it can kill and carry or even scavenges when the need arises.

This picture shows a Falconer with a Bald Eagle landing on his arm, notice those bright yellow talons and the underside of its deadly beak.

The Bald Eagle Oozes Charisma with its Surreal Presence - A Stunningly Powerful Bird of Prey That Symbolises a Nation

Bald Eagle in Flight 005 by Clive Anderson
Bald Eagle in Flight 005 by Clive Anderson

The USA took this amazing creature to represent the country back in 1782 and since then its symbolic meaning and design has become more and more prominent.

The Bald Eagle itself is certainly an unmistakable image and to be so close to this image in real life was not only a real treat, but a time of admiration and respect. Equipped with an arsenal of killing and ripping tools makes this predator a formidable foe for any unsuspecting target.

The Beauty of The Eagle World with a Fantastic Look - Even Close-up This Raptor Knows it's in Charge

Bald Eagle Close-up 006 by Clive Anderson
Bald Eagle Close-up 006 by Clive Anderson

Strangely enough while the Bald Eagle was loose and flying the skies went very quite, not another bird could be seen or a chirp to be heard such is the intimidation and power that this great creature projects.

The Formidable Secretary Bird - Amazing Looks and Features Allow it to Get a Grip of any Situation

Secretary Bird Trampling a Snake by Clive Anderson July 2012
Secretary Bird Trampling a Snake by Clive Anderson July 2012

She may largely be a terrestrial bird of prey but due to her formidable height and size the Secretary Bird makes hunting look easy and can easily dispatch a large snake using its large talons and agility.

As is demonstrated in this picture, you really wouldn't want to be a snake or any other ground dwelling creature coming into contact with this bird, she may be a land hunting Bird of Prey, but she is equally as well equipped as some of her flying raptor relatives.

(The snake you see in this photograph was only a large rubber one, but the intention and conclusion was easy to see)

A Secretary With Attitude - Bright Colours and Good Looks Reveal a Very Capable Raptor

One of the things that stood out with the Secretary Bird was her amazing explosive nought to attack speed supported by fast running. Coming towards us flat out was quite intimidating as well as exciting, but not so much so if you were a target of her desire.

A Skilful African Savannah Grassland Hunter - A Symbol Found on The Coat of Arms of South Africa and Sudan

Secretary Bird Stading in Pen by Clive Anderson July 2012
Secretary Bird Stading in Pen by Clive Anderson July 2012

We found this gorgeous Secretary Bird more and more interesting the closer we looked at her, standing at over 4 foot tall and with a real similarity to certain secretary characteristics she is certainly a wonder of nature.

Stunning Owls - Their Mystical Look and Silent Flight

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This was a comical and fun chap to watch, a small burrowing Owl called Major Lewis.The unmistakable Barn Owl in flight.The beautiful plumage of a Barn Owl from behind.A very tired Owl gives a yawn.A brief moment when this Barn Owl decided to land and stand for a bit right on the arm of a spectators wooden chair.The stealthy Barn Owl flying low through the meadow.Major Lewis the Burrowing Owl takes centre stage while the event host carries on with the showThe sleeping Owl awakes for a quick photo shoot.Owls come in all shapes and sizes and this lovely example is no different.
This was a comical and fun chap to watch, a small burrowing Owl called Major Lewis.
This was a comical and fun chap to watch, a small burrowing Owl called Major Lewis.
The unmistakable Barn Owl in flight.
The unmistakable Barn Owl in flight.
The beautiful plumage of a Barn Owl from behind.
The beautiful plumage of a Barn Owl from behind.
A very tired Owl gives a yawn.
A very tired Owl gives a yawn.
A brief moment when this Barn Owl decided to land and stand for a bit right on the arm of a spectators wooden chair.
A brief moment when this Barn Owl decided to land and stand for a bit right on the arm of a spectators wooden chair.
The stealthy Barn Owl flying low through the meadow.
The stealthy Barn Owl flying low through the meadow.
Major Lewis the Burrowing Owl takes centre stage while the event host carries on with the show
Major Lewis the Burrowing Owl takes centre stage while the event host carries on with the show
The sleeping Owl awakes for a quick photo shoot.
The sleeping Owl awakes for a quick photo shoot.
Owls come in all shapes and sizes and this lovely example is no different.
Owls come in all shapes and sizes and this lovely example is no different.

The Business End of a Bald Eagle - For Anyone Wondering why Protective Gloves are Essential when Handling Birds of Prey

Bird Eagles Talons by Clive Anderson July 2012
Bird Eagles Talons by Clive Anderson July 2012

Some of the talons we saw were exceptionally impressive none less so were these talons of a Bald Eagle on a Falconers glove that I managed to get a close-up of.

Vultures Galore - Even The Scavangers of the Wild are Stunning (And Very Big)

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Colorful Vulture stretching and spreading its massive wings.Another Vulture having a good stretch and posing for the camera.Large Vulture keeps watch while warming under its wing.Three Vultures grooming, two look up for a second but the other was too busy enjoying its plumage.Several Vultures were allowed to fly all at once on one occasion, here they are flying low over the spectators during the display.This time a Vulture soars low to the ground right in front of the arena.This Vulture was taking a rest from flying by resting on the handrail of a two story wooden lodge, he soon turned a flew back to his handler.Rear profile of this extremely colorful Vulture.Another low fly by, this time to the side of the crowd who appear to hardly even know it was there.
Colorful Vulture stretching and spreading its massive wings.
Colorful Vulture stretching and spreading its massive wings.
Another Vulture having a good stretch and posing for the camera.
Another Vulture having a good stretch and posing for the camera.
Large Vulture keeps watch while warming under its wing.
Large Vulture keeps watch while warming under its wing.
Three Vultures grooming, two look up for a second but the other was too busy enjoying its plumage.
Three Vultures grooming, two look up for a second but the other was too busy enjoying its plumage.
Several Vultures were allowed to fly all at once on one occasion, here they are flying low over the spectators during the display.
Several Vultures were allowed to fly all at once on one occasion, here they are flying low over the spectators during the display.
This time a Vulture soars low to the ground right in front of the arena.
This time a Vulture soars low to the ground right in front of the arena.
This Vulture was taking a rest from flying by resting on the handrail of a two story wooden lodge, he soon turned a flew back to his handler.
This Vulture was taking a rest from flying by resting on the handrail of a two story wooden lodge, he soon turned a flew back to his handler.
Rear profile of this extremely colorful Vulture.
Rear profile of this extremely colorful Vulture.
Another low fly by, this time to the side of the crowd who appear to hardly even know it was there.
Another low fly by, this time to the side of the crowd who appear to hardly even know it was there.

The Setting Was Tranquil - Looking Out From the Hawk Conservancy You Can See for Miles

The Hawk Conservancy Trust Meadow by Clive Anderson
The Hawk Conservancy Trust Meadow by Clive Anderson

The setting was so tranquil especially when walking through the pre-cut pathway that is situated in and around the meadow. The views stretch out across the valley floor allowing you clear sight over the surrounding fields and hedgerows.

This photograph was taken from the front of the meadow which lies at the back of the Hawk Conservancy.

A Bald Eagle Flying Sequence - This Sequence Shows a Bald Eagle Coming in to Land on a Falconers Glove

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Bald Eagle coming in fast from across the meadow.Adjusting flight path on approach.Wings and legs down to reduce height and speed.Focusing on landing target adjusting wings and tail for smooth soft landing."Touchdown" the Eagle lands right on the mark without error.Taking a well earned rest and answering questions.Sitting proud having just flown across the valley and back.A Majestic look from the great Bald Eagle.
Bald Eagle coming in fast from across the meadow.
Bald Eagle coming in fast from across the meadow.
Adjusting flight path on approach.
Adjusting flight path on approach.
Wings and legs down to reduce height and speed.
Wings and legs down to reduce height and speed.
Focusing on landing target adjusting wings and tail for smooth soft landing.
Focusing on landing target adjusting wings and tail for smooth soft landing.
"Touchdown" the Eagle lands right on the mark without error.
"Touchdown" the Eagle lands right on the mark without error.
Taking a well earned rest and answering questions.
Taking a well earned rest and answering questions.
Sitting proud having just flown across the valley and back.
Sitting proud having just flown across the valley and back.
A Majestic look from the great Bald Eagle.
A Majestic look from the great Bald Eagle.

There Are Many Great Metal Statues Scattered Throughout the Park - Encounter Hawks of a Different Metal

As you walk in amongst all the birds and around the woodland setting you occasionally come across one of these great looking architectural sculptures featuring different Birds of Prey.

Various Hawks and Other Raptors - A Selection of Birds of Prey in Different Poses

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Falcon posing for the camera when standing on the gravel out front of one of the external perches.Patient Falcon waiting his turn to fly in front of the spectators, though I'm more inclined to think he was thinking of the food he would get as reward.Another of the spectacular Eagles content to be close to prying eyes and cameras.Presumably his natural habitat is quite cold judging by this Eagles fluffy appearing plumage.This character was full of life and certainly wanted to interact with his observers, so naturally I have far too many pictures of this fellow.Yet another pose.A Golden Eagle appears to be cooling itself by raising its wings away from its body.This was a magnificent bird, but he would not get into a better position that this for his photograph, shame.Another photograph of a Bald Eagle, this time resting on a outside perch doing a few stretches.Birds of Prey come in all shapes and sizes and this little Kestral was no exception he was glorious in every way and great fun to be around.
Falcon posing for the camera when standing on the gravel out front of one of the external perches.
Falcon posing for the camera when standing on the gravel out front of one of the external perches.
Patient Falcon waiting his turn to fly in front of the spectators, though I'm more inclined to think he was thinking of the food he would get as reward.
Patient Falcon waiting his turn to fly in front of the spectators, though I'm more inclined to think he was thinking of the food he would get as reward.
Another of the spectacular Eagles content to be close to prying eyes and cameras.
Another of the spectacular Eagles content to be close to prying eyes and cameras.
Presumably his natural habitat is quite cold judging by this Eagles fluffy appearing plumage.
Presumably his natural habitat is quite cold judging by this Eagles fluffy appearing plumage.
This character was full of life and certainly wanted to interact with his observers, so naturally I have far too many pictures of this fellow.
This character was full of life and certainly wanted to interact with his observers, so naturally I have far too many pictures of this fellow.
Yet another pose.
Yet another pose.
A Golden Eagle appears to be cooling itself by raising its wings away from its body.
A Golden Eagle appears to be cooling itself by raising its wings away from its body.
This was a magnificent bird, but he would not get into a better position that this for his photograph, shame.
This was a magnificent bird, but he would not get into a better position that this for his photograph, shame.
Another photograph of a Bald Eagle, this time resting on a outside perch doing a few stretches.
Another photograph of a Bald Eagle, this time resting on a outside perch doing a few stretches.
Birds of Prey come in all shapes and sizes and this little Kestral was no exception he was glorious in every way and great fun to be around.
Birds of Prey come in all shapes and sizes and this little Kestral was no exception he was glorious in every way and great fun to be around.

Red Kite Flying Display Feast

Red Kite Fest by Clive Anderson July 2012
Red Kite Fest by Clive Anderson July 2012

Red Kites are among the more social birds in the raptor family, but this does not mean they are any less dangerous, in fact being social birds they are rarely seen on their own.

This team of five Red Kites put on an aerobatic display that would even have top gun pilots in a spin. The Falconer on the ground was throwing several pieces of food up at a time and the birds would catch it, not only that but they rarely each went for the same piece thus ensuring that none of the food ever hit the ground as they are more than capable of eating on the wing as well.

(Sorry the picture is not of better quality, but they got me in a real spin with this one.)

Some Other Photographs Taken at the Hawk Conservancy - Not Everything at the Hawk Conservancy is Raptor Orientated

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This colorful chap was simply wandering about with a couple of strange looking hens in tow. Couldn't believe how striking his colors were.Captured these two Storks just as the male was proposing and the female went a bit bashful, or at least that's our story and were sticking to it.A very large and fluffy hen, she even has leg warmers so we are guessing she comes from somewhere pretty cold.There are some great Ducks for any Duck enthusiast and even hold regular duck races which the ducks seem to really enjoy.Nicole (my wife) enjoying looking at one of the smaller aviary found around the park.A Falcon covers its catch, not live food of course.Found this pretty little black and red fellow in the meadow.Even the locals joined in, as you can see this local Heron makes off with one of the food parcels left out for it.
This colorful chap was simply wandering about with a couple of strange looking hens in tow. Couldn't believe how striking his colors were.
This colorful chap was simply wandering about with a couple of strange looking hens in tow. Couldn't believe how striking his colors were.
Captured these two Storks just as the male was proposing and the female went a bit bashful, or at least that's our story and were sticking to it.
Captured these two Storks just as the male was proposing and the female went a bit bashful, or at least that's our story and were sticking to it.
A very large and fluffy hen, she even has leg warmers so we are guessing she comes from somewhere pretty cold.
A very large and fluffy hen, she even has leg warmers so we are guessing she comes from somewhere pretty cold.
There are some great Ducks for any Duck enthusiast and even hold regular duck races which the ducks seem to really enjoy.
There are some great Ducks for any Duck enthusiast and even hold regular duck races which the ducks seem to really enjoy.
Nicole (my wife) enjoying looking at one of the smaller aviary found around the park.
Nicole (my wife) enjoying looking at one of the smaller aviary found around the park.
A Falcon covers its catch, not live food of course.
A Falcon covers its catch, not live food of course.
Found this pretty little black and red fellow in the meadow.
Found this pretty little black and red fellow in the meadow.
Even the locals joined in, as you can see this local Heron makes off with one of the food parcels left out for it.
Even the locals joined in, as you can see this local Heron makes off with one of the food parcels left out for it.

We hope you enjoyed this lens and would love to read your comments and feedback, please use this guestbook feature to leave us your own thoughts or short message. Thank you...

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    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 4 years ago from London

      I've passed the sign on my way down to Somerset a thousand times, and always wondered...now I know, and must make the effort to detour and go! Your lens is just great, and your pics absolutely wonderful.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      What a phenomenal experience for you! So glad you have such good skills with the camera, as looking at these wonderful photographs is likely about as close as I will come to waltzing among the raptors like this. I am fascinated, humbled, in awe of that whole family of birds - sometimes spend hours watching the various small hawks here wheeling over the newmown fields in search of mice, or the Bald Eagles fishing just below the river dam, but that's a safe distance from all those impressive talons and beaks! A beautiful lens; beautifully done.