My Sharandys Experience..
As a hunter I have for many years been faced with the problem of the challenge of rabbiting land where undergrowth is too dense to net and with sensitive livestock where you can't shoot. I have always been aware that there has been a third option to my rabbit hunting conundrum, that of a hawk.
Not knowing too much about Falconry other than being aware that birds of prey need time to care for them properly, I have always steered well away from them, that is until now, I am at a stage in life where I can offer more time to care for and hunt with a hawk.
I knew that I would need some training and so embarked on a lengthy trawl to find out what there was available. I soon found out there is a lot on offer so I narrowed my search criteria. I didn't want to travel too far, I didn't mind what I paid for the right training, and I didn't want a Lantra qualification. I did want a small teaching group or even better one to one, I wanted general knowledge of birds of prey but centred mainly on the bird I thought would fit my needs a Harris Hawk.
What I discovered was that everyone offered more or less the same 5 days for about the same money and most of the centres would only run a course if they had 6-10 students. And they were all a long way from home.
Then I found Sharandys birds of prey, just outside Langport 20 minutes from home. So I made enquiries and spoke to Sharon she was offering me 5 days one to one training split however I wanted, to fit in with my work. Sharon soon identified that I was really interested in a Harris Hawk but also wanted general background knowledge on all Birds of prey. So I sent off a cheque and signed up.
My 5 day package to gather knowledge was perfectly tailored to my requirements. Sharon gave me all the general information I wanted and more on Falcons, Owls, Buzzards, Hawks & Eagles but centred the majority of my learning in the area where I most wanted it Harris Hawks. I experienced a lot of hands on work as much as I requested and if at any time I was unsure or wanted to go over any aspect again Sharon was only too willing to go back over old ground. I soon grasped why Sharon was so obliging to revisit topics over again, it's not that she wanted me to be confident about the subject it's because she really, really cares about the bird I could potentially get and kill through ignorance.
The one overwhelming fact as to why I chose Sharandys Birds of Prey to train with was the promise that Sharon gave me, that absolutely no one else gave me. Sharon made a life time undertaking to mentor me and help me find, train and care for my bird totally free of charge.
I have now got my Harris Hawk a female called Bunny, I have had her 6 weeks now, I got here parent reared, the breeder kept her with her parents until 20 weeks at my request (advised by Sharon). I have trained Bunny to the Schedule taught to me by Sharon and yesterday I entered her for the first time and she caught her first rabbit. It has been an exciting and exhilarating journey from my first visit to Sharandys to constructing a mews, finding a bird, collecting her, feeding her off the glove, getting her hopping to the glove, flying 50 meters on the Creance, flying her free for the first time (that was exciting) and hunting with her yesterday for the first time.
But it hasn't been without its anxious moments, a rapid weight loss the first few days forced me to call Sharon, she was so helpful we talked through everything together and concluded she was carrying a lot of fat and burned it off in excessive bating, I can truly say Sharon has been there for me but most importantly she has been there for my bird.