Hawk Conservancy Trust
The Hawk Conservancy Trust is based near Andover. With 22 acres of woodland and wildflower meadow and more than 150 birds of prey, there’s plenty to see.
As well as a venue for visitors, the Trust is a conservation charity for birds of prey and it works in the fields of conservation, education, rehabilitation and research. They generate environmental awareness for the benefit of birds of prey and their habitats. The Trust also operates a bird of prey hospital that treats around 200 wild birds a year. Many of the sick and injured raptors are brought in by members of the public, farmers, police and the RSPCA. All birds are treated with the intention of releasing them back into the wild wherever possible.
Many of the birds on show are part of important breeding or environmental enrichment programmes and your visit helps the Trust fund it’s important work.
A trip to the Hawk Conservancy Trust is good fun for all the family and both educational and interesting. Apart from the many birds that can be seen at your leisure, there are keepers’ talks and spectacular flying displays throughout the day where the birds get so close to the crowds that you sometimes need to duck!
Displays feature owls, kites, vultures and hawks and they are all amazing to watch. The flying demonstrations take place in three different arenas and each time, the commentary by the staff is both informative and entertaining. The World of Birds of Prey flying demonstration takes place in the Lower Flying Grounds – which represents grassland savannah. There’s the opportunity to see birds such as the Caracara, Barn Owl, Lanner Falcon, Kestrel and the striking and leggy Secretary Bird. Later in the day, see the majestic American Bald Eagles swoop from the skies and the Red Kites catch the thermals in the Valley of the Eagles above Reg’s Meadow and then watch the owls expertly negotiate the trees in the Woodland Arena. Don’t be surprised if you see resident wild birds such as Red Kites, European Buzzards, Peregrine Falcons and Kestrels joining the birds in the Valley of the Eagles.
Following The World of Birds of Prey and Woodland Owls and Hawks displays you get the chance to hold an owl – getting up close to these birds is a great experience. you can also meet one of the starts of the show after the display in the Valley of the Eagles.
If you would like to try and spot some of the wild birds of prey there are viewing hides.
The Trust is also home to the only public Great Bustard aviary in the United Kingdom, where you can take a rare opportunity to see the world’s heaviest flying bird up close! Recently re-introduced onto Salisbury Plain, the birds are making a comeback to the south of England.
During school holidays extra activities are set up such as tractor rides, ferret racing and the very comical Indian Runner Duck race.
The Hawk Conservancy Trust also offer special bird handling days which need to be booked in advance. The experience sessions could include handling and flying a range of birds of prey such as owls, vultures, hawks and eagles in groups of up to five participants.