About STEPHEN SANDERS
My interest in falconry started in my teens when I attended the West Mercia Police Open Day and they had a Static Falconry Display; I stayed there all day and was like a child in a sweet shop! At that time I didn’t have the means or opportunity to pursue my passion for birds of prey. So it wasn’t until I had my own house and an income that I was able to take this passion further and have the relevant training required to own and fly birds of prey. I then joined a falconry club to be around like minded people and gain experience with the hunting aspect of falconry. At this point I was lucky enough to be offered a job on a landfill site flying falcons to deter seagulls and corvids. Not the most glamorous of settings, but more valuable experience. In 2009 I decided, with my partner Debbie, to start a falconry related business; S & D Pest Control Solutions. Over the years we have grown to where we are today trading as S & D Falconry, and also Ring on a Wing Ltd, which is a dedicated falconry wedding business which includes a barn owl delivering the rings!
I will start with a short introduction about my background in falconry including the pest control and how I’ve built it up as a business, and why I believe it is so relevant to the subject of country house business innovation. Especially as we, ourselves, are currently based in the grounds of a Hotel.
The first section of my talk will focus on the benefits of diversifying by having a falconry presence at estates, country houses, castles and venues to help increase their income. Giving examples of venues where there has been a history of falconry and which now include this as an attraction for visitors. This can also link in with other historic pastimes such as archery. A classic example of this being Warwick Castle, which has both falconry and archery. Weddings are becoming more and more popular at all types of venues and falconry can be offered as part of a ‘Wedding Package’. This also applies to landowners who wish to diversify their land as a way to bringing in an income.
The second section will focus on the benefits of having a falconry presence also for the purpose of pest control. How flying falcons and hawks can work as a natural deterrent against pest species such as pigeons, seagulls, rabbits and Canada geese.
After twenty minutes I will bring my talk to a close with a short summary, and then offer to answer any questions for the last ten minutes.