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The Weekend (2-day) “Introduction to Falconry”

The Weekend (2-day) “Introduction to Falconry”

You’re a birder, a wildlife enthusiast, or someone who has “always dreamed of working with raptors”.

You’re thinking about whether you can make the commitment to having a bird-of-prey, or you really wish you could…but there’s no time for it in your life right now. Either way, this weekend program develops all the fundamental handling skills needed to either start you on your journey, or satisfy some of those questions you’ve longed to answer.

Our two-day session imparts solid skill-building, and forms Joanne’s minimum standard of knowledge for being considered as a volunteer, or (perhaps) a working assistant’s position.



After “setting the scene” with some of what is known about Falconry’s inception, we’ll roll up our sleeves.

The nuances of approaching, picking up and tying the feathered off to the gauntlet using the Falconer’s Knot is how we begin, thence progressing to weighing – contrasting the modern (arguably ‘lazy’ method) with the historical technique.

Its time at this point to get outside and move. By taking the feathered for a walk, or “manning” them, Joanne encourages students to begin sensitizing themselves to how raptors communicate with their human stewards – that is to say, understanding the coarse rudiments of raptor body language.

Returning to the studio, the discussion turns to the more common health ailments encountered in the stewardship of raptors. This leads very nicely into cleaning their feet!

After the lunch-break, we introduce participants to footage comparing, (among other things), the differences between how falcons and hawks fly, and some great material from the National Geographic team who established – once and for all – the accepted top speed of the fastest living being on Earth: the Peregrine falcon.




If there is time before the first day’s flying session, there’ll be a coping (ie: “raptor dentistry”), or equipment making demonstration (ie: jesses, aylmeri).

Its then time to head to our outdoor “Classroom” to get in some flying; students will cap off a very full first day by trying their hand at lure-swinging, and flying our Red Tail to the glove.



The following day we’ll recap (think of it as a “pop” quiz) all of the physical techniques introduced the previous day, including another session of “manning”, (but no chance today either of running the garden-hose…we just don’t do that to our students).

We now cover casting – the act of safely holding the bird to enable coping or first-aid issues to be addressed, or to ‘dress’ the raptor with anklets and jesses. This is a nuanced skill – not a wrestling match, and takes considerable practice to develop confidence.

Whichever demonstration was not covered the previous day will now be covered. For example, if equipment-making was put aside, participants will now have the chance to make jesses or aylmeri which they’ll be welcome to take home as mementos.




It’s once again time to head back out to the outdoor “Classroom” for more flying! Students will again practice their basic lure-swing with the falcons, and enjoy some shared following-on games with ‘Mohave’.

Students are encouraged to take notes for posterity, to ask questions, and to take lots of photographs. Handouts and pens are provided, and there will be a 1-hour lunch break each day at a marvelous café located in nearby Chemainus.




This makes a fantastic gift any time – we’ve even had couples join us on this course to celebrate anniversaries, or to surprise each other with a wonderful “mystery date”!

Our weekend Falconry program is a tremendous experience for young people considering careers in veterinary medicine, an excellent adjunct experience for those all ready involved in veterinary care or rehabilitation work, (we’ve been honoured to have several vets take our program), or anyone drawn to birds-of-prey who feels the powerful desire to learn more about them in a safe, enjoyable environment.


Course Price: $260.00


**Please Note**

  • Every effort is made to ensure the interactions between “Team Feathers” and our guests are safe. This said, birds-of-prey are not pets, and thus must be approached with respect.


  • The minimum age for participation in our course offerings is 12 years, with parent accompaniment to age 14.


  • “Team Feathers” visit their friend, Dr. Chris Collis DVM, for twice-yearly physical assessments, and are certified healthy and disease-free. This is incredibly important to us as our feathered-companions are involved in work which routinely puts them up-close-and-personal with professional performers and the public.


  • All course fees must be paid in full prior to attendance. As we limit the number of participants in our programs to enable the best possible ratio of student-to-mentor interaction, we often have wait lists of individuals hoping to join us last-minute. In consideration of others, we ask for your understanding and respect for this requirement. A non-refundable admin-fee of $50 will be levied for cancellations.

Additional information

Weather Conditions

All sessions are weather-dependent – it is incumbent on visitors to make themselves aware of up-to-the-minute weather reports. Resources for weather reports include: http://www.cheknews.ca, http://www.theweathernetwork.com, http://www.weather.gc.ca. We do not fly “Team Feathers” in extremes of weather. High winds, extreme heat, steady rain and dense-fog conditions constitute “extremes” for us. No exceptions.

Schedule Changes

Visitors attending courses with "Team Feathers" must advise us of scheduling changes, (weather-related, etc), 48hrs prior to their scheduled arrival. – A $50 non-refundable fee will be levied for 'no-shows'.

Dress Atire

Visitors are advised to dress appropriately for the weather – even if conditions are "flyable", Vancouver Island winters and springtime can be cool and wet. Rubber boots and sweaters are never a bad idea.

No Pets

Please do not bring pets along for your session – a sunny spring day can still result in a car becoming dangerously hot for a dog. "Team Feathers" is not universally tolerant of dogs – some of our feathered-companions find the presence of dogs quite stressing. Handling your pet while trying to learn about birds-of-prey presents unwelcome interruptions to the flow of the session, and considerable distraction for you. Leave your pets at home or with friends while attending your scheduled visit with "Team Feathers".

Infants & Children

Please do not bring infants along for sessions geared toward adults or older children. They will neither remember the experience, nor benefit from it. No exceptions. Please do not bring children below 6yrs of age along for sessions geared toward adults or older children. With few exceptions, they will not understand older participants need to concentrate on the information being shared. No exceptions.

Video Demo

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