Smooth sailing and bird training

In May this year, we welcomed Owen Lincoln to our Bird Team here at the Trust, so we’ve caught up with him to find out how he’s been getting on:

“I joined the Hawk Conservancy Trust four months ago now and I can safely say that time certainly does fly when you’re having fun. Before coming here, I worked for a bird of prey centre in Bedfordshire for over four years, and working with birds of prey is all I could ever see myself doing. So to come here now is a dream come true I can assure you.

I’ve always admired the work that this organisation is striving to achieve and I look forward to being a part of the team for the foreseeable future, to help support the incredible movement for wildlife both here in the UK and abroad. Whether it’s helping out Cedric in the National Bird of Prey Hospital™, commentating flying demonstrations, running experiences or making videos for social media, I have loved every part of day to day life at the Trust.

I have had to be a sponge to soak up as much as I possibly can. The first few weeks working with the incredible support of the rest of the team was great and now that I’m used to the way things are done here, I’m able to work on my own routines.

One thing I have always loved about this industry is you never stop learning as every day you can be faced with different challenges, such as from the bird you’re working with or a puzzling question from a visitor. People often ask what is your job role: are you a falconer? Or a bird expert? But simply we are members of the Bird Team! I feel that is a rather fitting title as in this line of work you can be highly knowledgeable and have a lot of experience under your belt but that’s not to say that one day the bird you’re working with might not throw a complete curveball in your direction, making you rethink all of the previous training you’ve done before.

For example, I’m currently working with a lovely, female Harris’ Hawk called Phoebe. She’s the first bird that I’ve been able to train and fly free here so it’s very meaningful to me and something I won’t forget. In the past I have trained two other Harris’ Hawks, one for hawking days and pest control and the other for flying demonstrations and experience days. Though all three birds are the same species, not one of them acted or behaved in the same manner throughout their training.

Every bird, from eagles to ibis, has their own personality and individual traits. Discovering a bird’s character and persona whilst building a beautiful working relationship and an understanding of one another, is really one of the highlights for me. I have found Phoebe to require patience as she can be sensitive in her character, though that’s not to say she hasn’t got a spirited side either, and I love working with her.

I have always believed that when you love what you do, you will never work a day, and being here has definitely solidified that for me!”

Owen Lincoln

Bird Team


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