First National Conference of Bird of Prey Professionals – Conference Report

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We are delighted to announce that the First National Conference for Bird of Prey Professionals was a huge success! Over a hundred descended on Kilworth Springs Golf Club to listen to, and put questions to, our line-up of Speakers. The opportunity to network with other bird of prey professionals was clearly valued and we’ve had lots of positive feedback about this.

A summary of the day:

Leigh Holmes (the Falconry App) demonstrated how the Falconry App could be used to monitor and maintain records of birds of prey and encouraged delegates to test this as it comes absolutely free for one bird!

Mark Habben (Zoological Society London) spoke on husbandry and management guidelines, including enrichment for captive birds of prey; aviaries; transportation; free flight considerations; displays; tethering; and in particular the need for species specific knowledge.

Graham Irving (Natural England) talked about licensing and prohibition with regards to the killing, taking or disturbance of birds and of the particular requirements relating to species. Graham’s talk generated lots of questions which he answered during the panel session!

Gordon Mellor (Hawk Board) described the important role that the Hawk Board has played influencing Government so that birds of prey may be kept and flown free in this country. Current challenges include Brexit, and the forthcoming regulations that will require anyone that commercially offers bird of prey activities to hold a licence issued by their local authority.

Bob Dalton (Project Lugger) explained the plight of the Lugger Falcon and its use as ‘Barak’ in Pakistan which has sadly contributed to sending numbers into serious decline. Bob described the important work that the project is doing in seeking to conserve this bird of prey.

Nicky Kent (Social Heart CIC) outlined the benefits of collaborative working, explaining how bringing together different organisations that share a common goal can create greater efficiency, value and benefits.

Derek Hartshorne (Raptor Awards) spoke about the work that they have been doing over the past two years. This includes the development of courses and of the International Register of Bird of Prey Professionals.

A number of motions were put to the conference to help Raptor Awards to shape its future work. The conference voted in favour that Raptor Awards should:

·         Offer training courses and guidance for businesses required to operate within the new Animal Activities Licencing framework

·         Seek funds / projects to be delivered on a national basis and develop a quality assured network of partners to deliver these

·         Develop mechanisms to enable true bird of prey professionals to distinguish themselves from other non-professional operators in the market

Thanks to all those that completed the Evaluation Form. We are taking on board your feedback to help us make next year’s conference even bigger and better! Click on the link to view the full First conference report


Mark Habben – Conference Speaker

Mark is currently Head of Zoological Management, taking on all Zoological operational responsibilities for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) over both London and Whipsnade Zoos. 

As part of this role Mark oversees the zoo licensing inspections for London and Whipsnade zoos and is responsible for the leadership of all animal staff across the two collections.

Mark is also an inspector for the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and Chair of the EAZA Falconiform Taxon Advisory Group that recently developed Husbandry and Management Guidelines for Demonstration Birds.  Mark will be speaking further on the EAZA guidelines for demonstration birds at the conference.

 Official Conference Sponsor:


Conference sponsor announced.

THE FALCONRY APP announced today as the official sponsor of The 1st National Conference of Bird of Prey professionals.

“We are immensely proud to have attracted The Falconry App as the sole sponsor of the National Conference”,  said Derek Hartshorne, Event Administrator. “With their support we are able to bring together an exciting and valuable programme for our conference delegates”


The exciting new Falconry App brings comprehensive hawk data to your fingertips with the tap of a screen.  Specifically designed for simple operation on any device The Falconry App enables you to record and recall data instantly on all your birds of prey.

Get the very best from your hawks with on-screen graphs, weight charts,  food logs, hawking and weather records and so much more.  Plus special offers for App users from equipment manufacturers, food suppliers and more:

Store your photos, share them to social media and recall past flights with geo-tagged images and location based reporting.

No more lost records – all your data forever in one complete package.

The world of falconry just moved into the 21st Century!

Dr Gordon Mellor – Conference speaker

We are very happy to confirm that Dr Gordon Mellor will be speaking at the 1st National Conference for bird of prey professionals:

Gordon is life-long falconer whose passion is rook and crow hawking with a little lowland game hawking thrown in.  Gordon is a past President of the British Falconers’ Club and has served on their Council since the early 1990s. He took up the role of Chair of the Hawk Board in 2014 and is currently on the Advisory Group of the International Association for Falconry (IAF).

We are facing a raft of changes to the law affecting bird of prey professionals here in the UK.   Changes to Wildlife licences, new licensing for bird of prey displays and exhibitions under a revised Animal Welfare Act, and of course ‘Brexit’.

Now more than ever we need an effective voice speaking to legislators on our behalf.

Nicky Kent – conference speaker

We are delighted to confirm Nicky Kent as one of our Conference speakers on 19th March.

Looking forward to the business opportunities available through the Raptor Awards Network in 2018 – Nicky will be speaking about the benefits of social enterprise and partnership working as a way of building new income streams for your bird of prey based business.

Pen portrait:

Nicky is a Business, Social Enterprise and Charity Consultant, Success Coach and Speaker with nearly 30 years experience of leading Learning and Development initiatives for small to mid-size companies.

She is also a qualified falconer working mainly with owls, promoting social causes and education through her business Feather Perfect Falconry CIC.


‘Early-bird tickets on sale now!

With the total number of places strictly limited why not take advantage of our ‘Early-bird’ ticket offer.

Guarantee your place and save money as well!

Early-bird tickets are available on a first come, first served basis – when they’re gone they’re gone!

Don’t delay – get yours today.

First ever conference for Bird of Prey Professionals announced!

The first ever National Conference of Bird of Prey Professionals to be held in the UK has been announced today.

Unlike other specialist bird of prey events, this conference is aimed squarely at those individuals and businesses that utilise birds of prey in a commercial setting.

A packed agenda of specialist speakers will help you to ‘future-proof’ your business in an increasingly uncertain commercial environment.

The conference also sees the launch of new initiatives and products to help you boost your business opportunities and prospects for the coming years.

Make sure you put 19th March 2018 in your diary now, and book early to avoid disappointment.