Wales is well known for its birds of prey in the wild and in captivity, while viewing these magnificent creatures in their local habitat will be difficult Wales has some centers devoted to birds of prey where they can be viewed up close.
The Welsh Hawking Center
Vale of Glamorgan
Located just outside Barry in South Wales the Welsh Hawking Center was opened in the 1980’s in what was the old city of Cardiff zoo and has done a lot of work to raise awareness about birds of prey and the need to maintain their natural habitats not just in Wales but right across the world.
Alongside the wide selection of birds to view the center runs daily displays of falconry where you can see how the birds hunt and respond to their handlers commands. I first visited the center at the age of 13 having the luck to be growing up in south wales and the thrill of having a bird of prey swoop down onto your hand is something that has always stayed with me.
I would highly recommend the center for any child (or adult) interested in wildlife as long as they are not too nervous because these birds are surprisingly big close up. The center has evolved over the years from more than just a place to showcase some amazing birds to a hub for breeding offering a range of training courses for the novice and advanced training for people who are thinking of beginning a career in falconry.
Its advisable to wear some good outdoor footwear and take a warm coat when visiting the Welsh Hawking Center as much of your visit will be spent outdoors and even at the best of times the Welsh weather can be a bit unpredictable.
For full information including opening and display times you can visit the centers website www.welsh-hawking.co.uk
Pant Glas World of Nature
Staying in South Wales you have another place where you can see birds of prey flown at World of Nature along with a more general farm experience thrown in for good measure.
Located in a beautiful area of wales you are guaranteed some amazing views of the welsh landscape for your day out, just be aware that it will take a bit of traveling to reach World of Nature as it is off the beaten track.
As this is a smaller scale operation than the Welsh Hawking Center you will need to phone and book ahead if you wish to visit just to confirm availability and opening times.
As with all things outdoors the falconry displays are highly dependent on reasonable weather to operate and besides nobody really wants to be standing in the middle of a Welsh field in the pouring rain.
All the information you need to arrange a day out at World of Nature can be found on their website at www.pantglaswales.co.uk