Jay Marshall, Angela Siddall, Jake Dean and Tania Orgill lead the West of England Falconry team.
I've had a keen interest in birds of prey since childhood and have spent the last five years learning the art of traditional falconry. I want to share this knowledge with 'everyday' people and dispel the mysticism that surrounds falconry, bringing it into the 21st century by making this sport accessible, educational and fun. There are few people who know everything about Falconry, sadly I'm not one of them. But what I have learned, I want to share with others. I learn something new each day working with these birds, and it's just the best feeling to share my experiences with others.
Jay invited me to become a director because he felt he needed someone with commercial experience on his side – I think his words were 'because that's not really my area of expertise'! I bet he's glad I am involved because now that the business is growing it's important that we don't overlook the responsibilities and commercial realities of turning his vision into a reality. It also helps that I'm a partner in my husband's design business because I also created and maintain WOEF's on-line presence.
I initially developed an interest in birds of prey through watching Red Kites in the South Oxfordshire countryside. I began photographing the Kites and quickly became interested in other native birds of prey. After visiting various falconry displays, my interest for birds from around the world grew. I now volunteer and enjoy the privilege of building relationships with these fascinating creatures, photographing them, flying them and sharing this with other enthusiasts.
I have been interested in birds since a racing pigeon landed at our house in North Wales when I was just 4 years old. It became my pet and stayed with us for some years and my interest in birds has grown ever since. It was always a dream to take up falconry for the joy of being with these magnificent birds. I am lucky to live very close to the falconry centre where I now enjoy volunteering.
I live with my family and six chickens and I run PlayWood Forest School. www.playwoodforestschool.co.uk
Volunteers with a deeper interest in birds-of-prey have been encouraged to become part of the West of England Falconry team and are now actively participating in our activities enabling us to expand our programme for 2013 including 'Hunting Experiences' (traditional hunting with Hawks, for rabbits and pheasant).
Charlie (Harris Hawk)
I was hatched in April 2011, and Jay got me from someone who didn't know much about training birds and I've developed some bad habits. 'Charlie by name, Charlie by nature' Jay says. I think that's because I've got a bit of an attitude problem and I give him a hard time. But you get me up in that field and I'm as good as gold. I'm not allowed to fly into the trees though, because I go after squirrels and Jay doesn't want me to get hurt again. Jay always gives me an extra treat and tells how good I am afterwards. I think I might be his favourite.
Mogwai (Harris Hawk)
I was born on July 30th 2011 and live next to my friend Charlie. He's taught me a trick or two, but now Jay calls us the 'terrible twins'. That's probably because when we hear humans coming we know we're either going flying and are going to get fed, so we kick up a fuss 'till it happens. I know I'm Jay's favourite, because he lets me fly into the trees. Also, I don't mind sitting on the glove for people.
Bay (Harris Hawk)
Bio to follow
Ullu (Bengal Eagle Owl)
I joined the team when I was 12 days old on March 16th 2011. I've seen several birds come and go, but I'm still here, (I must be his favourite). I keep an eye on everything going on down here. Jay thinks I'm not very bright, 'dim but nice' he says. But he's the dim one; he just hasn't quite got me sussed yet. I'll let anyone into my aviary, except Jake, I really give him a hard time. Don't know why, it just amuses me. He's loved me since I was a ball of fluff, so I must try and treat him better.
Ghost (Barn Owl)
All this talk about favourites, well it's me. I was born on his birthday (July 12 2011) so I'm special. It's so hard not to get big-headed about how cute I am. Everyone loves me and wants to hold me and feel how soft my feathers are. I'm great both with the kids at schools and people who come visit us. Jay won't let me fly free any more (I have to go on a line) because the last time he did, I flew off and he had to go to Swindon to get me back.
Horus (Red tail)
Bio to follow
Stella (Red tail)
Bio to follow
Arthur (Burrowing Owl)
Bio to follow