To label the Hawk Conservancy Trust as simply a visitor attraction, feels to massively underplay the significance of the charity’s work and mission. With UK conservation and research they have played a huge part in the resurgence of red kites across the south, whilst in South Africa they have been instrumental in tackling the decline of vulture numbers to near extinction levels caused by the actions of ivory poachers. For vultures in particular, the work of the trust ensures not only the protection of those birds of prey, but also for wider ecologies that rely on those scavengers to remove potential sources for disease. So perhaps it is not surprising that when action was required to adjust their visitor attraction to become COVID safe, the Trust made sure it was thoroughly thought out and performed the absolute best it could be.
The Hawk Conservancy Trust operates from former farm land in Andover, Hampshire. Set across 22 acres of land, the Trust is home to numerous owls, eagles, vultures and other birds of prey. Unlike more free flow wildlife attractions, the Trust orients visitors’ days around 3 flying displays, with time in between to explore the grounds, visit the individual bird enclosures, and take time for lunch or a cream tea. Typically guests attend all 3 displays, although it is by no means a requirement, with each display providing an opportunity to not only learn about the different birds presented but to also become enthralled by their close flight.