If working with birds of prey or in falconry is your life long career dream, you do have employment possibilities. However, you should recognize that this is a very narrow focus, which also limits your job possibilities in falconry. Like other jobs in wildlife, you will need wildlife experience and education to gain employment, but also specific falconry training and licensing to start your career. Here are some of the major falconry employment opportunities available to you.
Most bird shows at zoos and other wildlife facilities include birds of prey in their programs. Because you work under the zoo’s permits and licensing, you do not need to be a license falconer to work in a bird show. This makes such bird jobs a great way to start working with birds of prey and gain falconry experience. Some staff may have a falconry license and agree to give you falconry training so that you can work towards your own falconry license. To get a job in a bird show, like any zookeeper job, you would need some college education, previous experience working with wild birds, and a solid understanding of animal behavior and animal training concepts. If openings are not available in the bird show, apply to become a zookeeper where you can gain experience and work your way towards working with birds of prey.
Bird Abatement / Control
Farmers, businesses, schools, and airports such as JFK in New York, use falconers for bird abatement and control. In this falconry job, falconers take their falcon, eagle, or hawk to the farm or airport to fly their birds. The site of a predator flying above scares away geese, gulls, and other birds feeding on airport runways or crops. To work in falconry bird abatement, you would need your falconer’s license and to learn the techniques used at the different job sites from experienced bird abatement falconers. Falconry bird abatement companies are privately owned businesses that hold contracts with airports, farmers, and others with pest bird problems.
Many jobs working with birds of prey involved education. Licensed falconers or small wildlife education organizations will take birds of prey and other wildlife to schools, scout meetings, and other sites for presentations to education kids and adults about the birds, and conservation issues affecting raptors and other wildlife. To start in falconry with a wildlife education program, find out about volunteer opportunities with the organization that interests you.
To put your connection with raptors to work for you will take a strong commitment to the birds and to your career. You’ll find that many falconry companies do not focus on only one service, such as bird abatement or raptor education presentations, to make ends meet. To keep their business thriving, birds well cared for, and themselves in falconry employment, they will provide a range of unique services including movie work, wedding experiences, and/or falconry courses for apprentice falconers.