The National Birds of Prey Center in Gloucestershire
The National Birds of Prey Center, located near Newent in Gloucestershire, is one of Britain’s premiere attractions and one of the top birds of prey centers in the United Kingdom. It is home to roughly 170 different birds of prey, including 22 species of eagles, falcons and hawks – a real treat for any bird lover or falconer.
This large center was created primarily to assist with the conservation of birds of prey through captive breeding, rehabilitation, rescue and research. To this end the center has a very good captive breeding program, which contributes to the conservation, rescue and rehabilitation of many of the different species that are brought here every year to receive highly specialized care. The captive breeding program mainly involves home bred birds or birds that have been donated from other zoos. The birds are encouraged to breed during each breeding season by the provision of adequate nesting materials. Some birds even have their nests made for them! The captive environment gives researchers plenty of time to study the bird’s natural behavior during the mating process and this research can be of great assistance to both help birds in captivity at other centers and in the wild. But this is just one small function performed by the National Birds of Prey Center.
The center also acts as an invaluable education tool for visitors who learn a lot about the birds from conveniently posted informative material and daily flying demonstrations. The education room and guide book also serve to further the knowledge of the various visitors who come to the center. The center runs a number of courses designed to help serious minded potential bird owners improve there knowledge and skills where possible and to gain some on-hand experience with different birds of prey. A number of schools regularly visit the center for field trips and students from schools and colleges throughout the world are regularly invited to gain invaluable work experience at the center. The center’s collection is used for DNA studies and biology in ways that are as unobtrusive to the birds as possible and the research aspect of the center will likely continue to expand in years to come.
However, perhaps the most heart-warming aspect of the center’s work is its efforts with regard to injured, sick, rescued and confiscated birds that are brought here each year. Where possible, these birds are made well again and released back into the wild. Unfortunately this is not always possible and sometimes the bird will become a permanent, well-cared for resident of the center. The National Birds of Prey Center is open all year around, with the exception of Boxing Day and Christmas Day. So make sure you visit this excellent bird facility.