Flying High with Sharandys Birds of Prey
PUBLISHED: 10:36 19 November 2010 | UPDATED: 11:54 28 February 2013
Amid the beautiful landscape between Martock and Langport you will find a committed and hardworking woman with drive and a passion for birds of prey
Sharon Bailey, the proprietor of Sharandys Birds of Prey, talks to Somerset Life about her business and her passion for her work
Sharons passion for birds came from her childhood when she rescued her first bird, albeit a budgie from the River Thames in London, when she was just seven years old. I watched this budgie being attacked by a wild bird and I knew that I could not sit back and watch this happen so I grabbed it with both my little hands and took it home. I remember knocking on all the doors and asking people if they had lost a bird, but no one claimed him, so I named him Billy and he stayed with me until a ripe old age.
Sharon has owned a variety of domestic birds over the years, but in 2003 she embarked on a change of career and decided to train as a falconer, where for four years she assisted at various centres throughout the South West before setting up Sharandys Birds of Prey in 2007. She already had a small personal selection of birds, including Kiya, a female Harris hawk, now eight years old and a most fabulous hunter, and Breeze, a barn owl that was four days old when she came to Sharon.
Sharon tells us, Its very important that the owls come at a very young age this enables us to imprint them, which involves a lot of manning (handling), the right diet and spending a lot of time getting them used to people and their surroundings.
The centre is now home to 19 birds of prey, ranging from an impressive selection of owls from the UK and around the world to falcons, hawks and Sharons beloved Goldie x Steppes eagle Saxon.
Sharon explains: It has been hard work trying to run the business side along with doing the falconry courses, schools, educational and care home visits, as well as the public events and not to mention the charity work for Raptor Rescue. I knew that the company could not progress to another level with just me at the helm, and therefore very lucky to have such a dedicated team of volunteers that without their continued loyalty Sharandys Birds of Prey would not be as successful.
4 years down the road, Sharandys is now busier than ever. While still offering a wide selection of courses for complete beginners to the Beginning Falconry Lantra Award for people wishing to own and fly a bird of their own, they also attend events and give numerous educational talks to schools, various groups, care/nursing homes and hospices, and offer large corporate events. In addition, they have many new ideas. Sharon explains, We will always want to deliver a personal and friendly hands-on falconry experience, but we are also trying to reach more people so everyone can experience the wonder and beauty of these birds.
Get up close and personal with these beautiful birds of prey: