24th October 2020
For those of you who don’t keep with us via Facebook you may be wondering what’s happening for the rest of the year and into 2021? We have now completed our short run of rescheduled public events for English Heritage and sadly that sees us finished for the year. We would normally have Halloween, half term and Christmas events on the books but they were not reinstated after being cancelled in April. None of our other clients have rescheduled cancelled events. So our season has been cut short by 2 months which is disappointing when we have so many birds needing work, but at least we had some work this year which is more than many. So, no further public appearances in 2020.
We have started taking bookings for 2021 and yes they are slowly rolling in. Mother’s Day weekend and Easter are already booked and more promised. We have survived 2020 but the recovery in 2021 will be just as challenging if not more so. To aid this transition we are forced to cease putting 2 demonstration teams out on the road so there will be no more double bookings, we simply won’t be able to afford funding it. Unfortunately this will greatly reduce our availability. It has been wonderful to work with actors and presenters, guest falconers and performers but we can’t afford to pay contractors any longer. We have down-sized our bird team this summer, rehoming 4 to private individuals and retiring 1 who will not be replaced. We now exist at a manageable size for a more sustainable future. Things will indeed never be the same again.
There is nothing more to tell at this stage. News and/or events will be posted in the coming months.
6th August 2020
We are offering private falconry sessions in Suffolk throughout August, midweek dates available and just a couple of weekend dates still free. It is a rare opportunity to join us in beautiful surroundings for a totally private and exclusive falconry experience. Watch our amazing eagle fly up close, see a hawk chase a lure, learn to fly an owl, do a little hawk walk and help fly the falcons. Small, private groups only. For more details drop us an email requesting information.
25th June 2020
With the government lockdown easing we are now able to commence work from 4th July as long as the venues we work for adhere to current health and safety requirements. As such, our main client, English Heritage, is putting together a small event programme ready to launch in the early autumn and because we are a Covid secure activity we are lucky to be a part of it. There are now some confirmed events on our Diary Page. We expect a few other clients to confirm dates in the next few weeks. It is expected that visitors will be required to contact venues to BOOK IN ADVANCE for all events due to limited ticket availability. This will be the only way to control visitor flow and maintain social distancing.
Because all our summer events were cancelled in panic…..we now have availability so WE ARE TAKING BOOKINGS FOR JULY AND AUGUST. We are normally never available this time of year so do not miss this rare opportunity!
Can public falconry displays be staged? The answer is yes but it depends entirely on the venue. Social distancing must be possible, mass gatherings are not permitted and visitor flow must be actively managed. Most of those responsibilities lie with the venue, however as a public performance we too have a part to play. We are an outdoor, open-air event which ticks the first box. We are an arena based event which requires the audience to disperse over a wide geographical area and watch from a distance. We can perform without any direct contact with visitors. We deliver our performance via a public address system meaning our audience does not have to gather in one location. We will not be opening our exhibition tent for public viewing, we will only perform flying displays from behind a safety barrier. These measures make us a Covid compliant activity.
If you wish to book beautiful historic falconry displays at your venue and do so in the knowledge that your guests will be safe and entertained – drop us an email soon.
29th May 2020
It has been confirmed by all our clients that there will be no events until September and even then they will only happen if outdoor gatherings are permitted by the government. Attendance will be limited in all cases and pre-book ticketing necessary. It is incredibly difficult for us to get through each day knowing that returning to work is still 3 months away although our day-to-day work managing the bird team continues of course regardless. With no public work allowed we have put many of our birds down to moult early in the hope we can bring them back online at the end of the summer ready for an autumn launch but some birds won’t see events at all this year which is mighty strange. It is ironic that we have had such a long spell of good weather which would have made for one of the best event seasons in a very long time. Financially we are safe until the autumn so fingers crossed things pick up and life continues to ease. We will post confirmed events as they arise both here (on our diary page) and on our Facebook page.
28th April 2020
For those who do not keep up with us on Facebook we have sad news that 2 of our oldest and most treasured birds have sadly passed away. Lute our peregrine x lanner falcon lost his battle with cancer in March and despite several surgical procedures to remove tumours had to be put to sleep. It was a terribly difficult decision to make but his quality of life was starting to suffer so it was the only decision we could make. Two weeks later we tragically had to do the same with Pageant our elderly female kestrel; she was 1 month off being 23 years old so was already living on borrowed time. She had been treated for a bone infection and gout months prior, both age related complaints, and suddenly went in to organ failure in late March. We were in the grip of the coronavirus outbreak by then so getting emergency veterinary help was extremely difficult making her loss additionally traumatic, however we managed to rush her to a local vet and had her peacefully put to sleep. Both birds were accomplished, experienced, cherished members of our feathered family who had been with us a very long time so their loss is deeply felt. They were of course brought home for burial and lay side by side in a sunny part of our garden surrounded by roses.
20th March 2020
Regular visitors will notice that we have not yet uploaded our events for 2020, well frankly there is absolutely no point while we sit in the midst of a national crisis. The coronavirus has forced our business to a full stop overnight. All our events have either been cancelled or remain unconfirmed until further notice. As artists of live performance we have no idea when we will be able to return to work as those decisions lie in the hands of the government and the venues and organisations we work for.
We are working closely with our most valued clients to try and make plans for later in the year so we can salvage some of our lost income and remain commercially viable. Our projections suggest a loss of 55% of our annual income if we can’t get back to work in August so fingers crossed that we do. In the meantime we are still “working” every day flying all our birds and keeping them fit ready for when we can officially get back to paid work.
We will post events as and when they are confirmed. We expect a considerable amount of rescheduling before publication so please be patient! In the meantime stay home, stay busy, stay healthy and stay safe everyone.
15th January 2020
The new year is shaping up pretty nicely with more than 100 event days now on the books. We are effectively fully booked! We have some new venues to look forward to and some exciting commemorative themes. It looks like we will be spending VE Day at Windsor Castle which will no doubt be the highlight of our year; The Royal Collection Trust are putting together a special event to mark the 75th anniversary of that significant day. 2020 is also the anniversary of The Field of the Cloth of Gold, an iconic Tudor date which we will be celebrating with our colleagues Heathcliffe Heroics at Hever Castle in June. Easter is our first outdoor public event and we run right through to Christmas. Our festive event at Framlingham Castle was such a big success in 2019 that it has been moved to Boxing Day this year so we shall be working to the very end! We hope to publish our complete event diary soon.
Last month we fitted our whole premises with security cameras after a spate of raptor thefts across the country. Falconry birds carry very little value relative to other commodities in the modern day but obviously there are still ignorant and criminal types out there who perceive them to be of high value. Try selling a “second hand” captive bred bird and especially one without any documentation – impossible! So we now have 4 surveillance cameras installed which allow us to observe our premises 24 hours round the clock and from any location.
We have plans to re-build some of our bird accommodation in the spring to upgrade all our small falcons to larger and more easy to maintain accommodation. The excessive rain we have suffered over the last 2 months has forced us to re-think the design of our small mews and look at how to improve them so they will last better into the future. We’ve always used wood as our main construction material but we might try something new that’s rotproof and doesn’t need painting!
And finally a plethora of new costumes should be hitting the ground this year as the repairs and replacements of our stock clothing continues. The majority are of course made in house to keep costs down and ensure they are bespoke one-offs. Old garments are often cut up and the fabric recycled by being reversed or dyed a different colour which is an entirely authentic historical practice as it turns out!
More information will follow next month.
28th October 2019
We are very pleased to have picked up a new client; The National Royal Navy Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. They have booked us to feature as a new attraction at their 3 day Victorian Christmas Festival. We felt it necessary to conduct a site visit for this enquiry as an industrial port environment is a challenging place so we met with the Operations Manager and Event Manager and were guided around the entire site to see the nature of the venue and hear their plans. We decided straight away it was not a safe place to free fly any bird but we agreed that with our creativity (and a lot of planning) we could offer a series of carefully crafted show-and-tells. We have been given a prestigious location in the main courtyard opposite the Mary Rose and adjacent to the HMS Victory which is the most peaceful and cultured corner of the dockyard. Falconry has never featured at the NRNM Portsmouth before so we very much look forward to teaching visitors about the traditions of our art and how throughout history hawks were imported by ship!
4th July 2019
We have just posted 2 new participant events on our Encounters page. There may be more to come too. These are pre-book events for members of English Heritage (one of the perks of membership is exclusive access to special art and craft events). Full details will be made available soon.
4th February 2019
Last year we joined the International Register of Bird of Prey Professionals (IRBPP) which is a new organisation designed to raise standards within the commercial and professional falconry industry. The red and white logo can be seen displayed on our home page. Commercial falconers have long been woefully under-represented so it is hoped that we finally have a body who can look after our interests and encourage fellow operators to work to a common high standard. Emma has been invited to join the advisory panel after raising some concerns about eligibility and the membership process. It is hoped that a variety of opinions from a cross section of established commercial falconers can help shape the direction and value of this organisation. Everyone vetted and approved joins as an associate member for 2 years, the difficulty is how to progress people to full membership status if indeed they have earned that privilege. It will be interesting to see how this story develops!