This is very much the 21st Century buzzword in our sport. In the past, however, all beginners would have been mentored or taught their art by experienced falconers, as there were really no such things as “beginner birds”.
In Britain at least, falconers started from scratch flying the hawks and falcons they would continue to use in their pastime or career. After a 300 year period when falconry was largely out of fashion, and practised by only a few individuals, in the middle of the 20th Century, the popularity of falconry began to increase. However, there were almost no existing falconers to help the beginner, and those that were around were difficult to find, and of course we also didn’t have the methods of communication we have now.
Aspiring falconers had firstly to read as many books on the subject as they could find, and then acquire “non-traditional”, relatively easy birds to train, such as the native Common Buzzard and Kestrel. Both of these were of limited value, as they are, generally speaking, not much use for hunting. A little later, much more useful hawks were imported, firstly the Redtailed Buzzard and shortly after that the Harris Hawk, both of which are quite easy to train and will also hunt effectively.
Nowadays, beginners often acquire such a “beginner bird” and expect to learn – as much as they think they need to know – by picking up tips and snippets of information from those with more experience. This seems like a good plan, but what they often don’t realise is that very often their “mentor” has only a little more knowledge than they have themselves. This will mean that the aspiring falconer will learn bad practices and habits, with sketchy hearsay information, limiting their horizons and putting their hawk’s welfare at risk.
Almost every day on Facebook we see photos of lost hawks (usually Harris Hawks) trailing a leash and swivel. Unless recovered, these hawks will shortly be tangled up somewhere and will die a miserable death, which is the worst crime in falconry that anyone could commit.
The Falconry School has a unique mentoring scheme whereby the novice falconer can ask for and receive sound information. The help and information we give is based on many decades of professional experience flying a wide variety of species, both captive-bred and wild-taken. Rather than potentially pestering a more experienced falconer, and perhaps receiving questionable information, for a monthly fee the novice with the ambition to learn and progress in our sport can obtain the highest quality one-to-one advice.
The scheme works in the following way:
If the novice falconer has a problem, snag, or just needs a question answered, he/she may contact us
- by phone (this is an exclusive number, not public)
- by a short text message
- by email
We will respond by answering the call or calling back if you leave a message, or will email back. We can answer emails, phone calls or texts up to a total of 10 communications per month. We can usually resolve any query in this way, but we may also send video clips or other media where necessary.
This scheme can be particularly useful for novices who have been to us on a course, but can be equally beneficial for novice falconers who are taking their first steps with a new hawk.
Mentoring for Individuals: £30 per month (includes up to 10 phone calls or emails per month for information or problem solving).
We’d require a 3-month minimum period if you would like to enroll for the mentoring services.