About SMJ Falconry
We have been involved with birds of prey for more than a decade and have years of experience providing exciting activities and services to people with our birds of prey.
Sandra started the business in 2006 to fulfil a life-long ambition to work with animals. She especially enjoys visiting schools and educating children about the birds of prey and their different qualities. Sandra has a real passion for all the birds, with the owls being her personal favourites. Away from working with birds of prey in a more literal sense, she also likes to draw pictures of the birds and makes them into greeting cards, which we sell in our gift shop; and can even be seen driving up-and-down the country supporting the brand in an SMJ Falconry sign-written horse-box.
Chris started falconry as a hobby in 2002, ultimately leading to the start of our business. In 2006 his hobby turned professional when he started working at a Falconry Centre in North Yorkshire doing flying displays and experience days. Next he spent 5 years breeding falcons for the middle-East and developed a passion for incubation (something he hopes to rekindle with some breeding pairs here). He joined SMJ Falconry in 2012 to begin a partnership in the family business and is responsible for overseeing the centre and making sure our birds are in tip-top condition. Chris can usually be found doing flying displays, introducing birds of prey to children in schools, or even persuading pigeons to move on from the city centre with a Harris hawk. (The bird Chris is holding in the photograph, taken by Alex Hillier, is Bandit one of our Gyr hybrid falcons.)
Rhiannon worked at a falconry centre in Durham whilst at University and finished her degree in Biology in 2015. Back in 2014 she spotted us at Cannon Hall Farm and asked if she could volunteer with us over the summer. It quickly became clear that she had a natural ability with the birds and was also very good at talking to visitors and guests. We recently asked Rhiannon to join the team and she is continuing to develop her skills with us. She enjoys working with our Owls and is learning to swing the lure and fly falcons. (The bird she is pictured with is Midge our White-faced Scops Owl.)
James began his journey at SMJ Falconry with a work-experience visit in 2010. Two years later he accepted an apprenticeship with us and is now an accomplished Falconer with a broad-range of experience. He does everything from cleaning, feeding & caring for the birds - to training them, putting on flying demonstrations and hosting our guests during the various experiences we offer. James especially enjoys flying Murphy the Merlin and has recently progressed with our Steppe eagle, Anya, who is now flying well to him. He hopes to get her soaring around our centre over the winter months and also aims to do the commentary during flying displays in the future. (The bird James is holding in the photograph is Murphy our Merlin.)
Mark started with us in 2015 on work-placement from Askham Bryan College, Bradford, where he is undertaking a Level-3 Animal Management course. He had already taken Lantra's "Beginning Falconry" Award before he got here. Our Red Kite, willow, has become Mark's favorite bird. He aims to be able to fly our Falcons and he is learning how to swing the lure at the moment. He also is very keen on all things to do with birds of prey and is learning everything we can teach him. (The bird Mark is hold in the photograph is Willow, our Red Kite.)
On course to complete her BTEC with flying colours, Amber is our resident photographer. She loves working with us, and is keen to learn to use a lure to put on flying demonstrations. Her favourite birds are Julianne, our Hooded Vulture, and Leon, our Black Kite. (The bird Amber is holding in the photograph is Leon our Black Kite.)
When Roger isn’t busy sorting out insurance contracts he’s usually helping out with the birds, and with the various shows and events we host and attend. He is due to retire from his first job later this year (finally!), although, at the moment, we aren't sure whether he will land here with us, or more in the arena of gardening? If the rabbits and moles have anything to do with it -- who are currently turning over and eating his garden -- perhaps he'll come here and do some training with the birds...for hunting days? (The bird Roger is holding in the photograph is Candy our Mackinder's Eagle Owl)
Pam's favourite bird is Millie, who is not a bird of prey but actually a clever Raven. However, Pam is also enjoying doing work with some of our Kestrels and also our Red-Footed Falcon. She works with young people and is interested in all aspects of bird of prey management and care. At the moment she is learning to use the telemetry system and getting more involved with flying the birds. She is also a local artist specialising in abstract landscapes. (The bird Pam is holding is Kizzie our female Kestrel.)
Ian usually works with us one day a week and sometimes more when we are exhibiting at shows. He is a keen enthusiast with his own collection of owls. His own collection includes some rescued birds and also our very own, magnificent Canadian Great Horned owl, Inca. He has paired Inca with his own in the hope that one day eggs will hatch. Ian does everything from cleaning, to driving and occasionally commentating on flying demonstrations at our displays and shows. (The bird Ian is holding in the photograph is our Hooded Vulture, Julianne.)
Mark originally came to visit us on an experience day and very quickly came back to take the Lantra "Beginning Falconry" Award certification. That was back in April 2011 and he has been working with us ever since. Mark works in the financial services sector during the week and he helps us out most Saturdays. He regularly takes part in experience days, photography workshops and sometimes the local shows we attend. His favourite bird is Sidney the Red-tailed Buzzard. (The bird Mark is holding in the photograph is Anya our Steppe Eagle.)
We met Barbara by coincidence when she had arranged to use some nearby land for hunting, with a local farmer. Barbara has occasionally been helping us out ever since. She is a very handy person to know, because she and her husband own the Independent Bird Register, which means if a bird gets lost (or found) she's the person to call. From time-to-time Barbara joins forces with us for shows and weddings.
We have a large collection of birds of prey, including:
We have Barns owls, a Little owl, Scops owls, White Faced owls, a Boobook owl, an Ashy Faced owl, European Eagle owl, Bengal Eagle owls, an Asian Brown Wood owl, Snowy owls, a Burrowing owl, a Great Grey owl, a Northern Hawk owl, a Long-eared owl, a Chaco owl, a Canadian Great Horned owl, an African Spotted Eagle owl, a MacKinder’s Eagle owl, a Tawny owl, a Tropical Screech owl and an Abyssinian Eagle owl.
Peregrine falcon, Saker falcons, Lanner falcons, Gyr hybrid falcons, a Red-footed falcon, a Merlin, American Kestrels and Eurasian (british) Kestrels.
Harris hawks and a Red-tailed buzzard
A Steppe eagle, Hooded vulture, Black kite, Red kite and a clever Raven!
You can come to us, or we can bring our birds to you. To enable us to provide you with the best, most personal experience we are a private falconry centre and visiting us is only available with a booking of one of our experiences. This means you get well looked after by a team dedicated to you and an in-depth, uninterrupted, engaging experience.
We’re located in Oxenhope, West Yorkshire, which is close to the adjoining borders of West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Lancashire, in the UK.
Our private bird of prey centre is set in beautiful countryside, also only 2.5 miles away from the picture-postcard village of Haworth. It is an area of natural beauty and distinctive character. The landscape is rugged moorland, hills and valleys, interspersed by pretty reservoirs (a setting made famous by the descriptions it inspired in Emily Brontë's famous novel 'Wuthering Heights'). (Other areas nearby include Skipton, Colne, Hebden Bridge, Keighley, Bingley, Shipley, Saltaire, Bradford, Halifax, Leeds and Burnley - also the Yorkshire Dales, Worth Valley, Airedale and Calderdale.)
You can find out more about the local area on our links page