Hare Hatch-based falconry centre marks 10th anniversary with a view to becoming Wokingham’s first zoo

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Feathers and Fur
Sadie Shepherd with Bille Jean

A HARE HATCH-based falconry centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary with plans to become the borough’s first zoo.

The Feathers and Fur Falconry Centre was set up in 2009 by Sadie Shepherd. 

Now marking its tenth year in business, Ms Shepherd is starting the process of acquiring the appropriate paperwork to allow them to host a menagerie from the animal kingdom. 

However, they won’t be running like a hare – the application runs at a more leisurely pace, so this tortoise will get over the line sometime next year. 

A fascination with birds of prey

With a degree in conservation, Ms Shepherd is fascinated with birds of prey.

She said: “I started working in a falconry centre in Exmoor National Park. After completely falling in love with the birds I moved to Shropshire and started a business called Halks on Walks, where I took people out for a walk with a Harris Hawk.

“I started off with five birds; three Harris Hawks, one European Eagle and one Barn Owl”.

Ms Shepherd moved down to Berkshire to live closer to her family and was originally planning on storing her birds at Ladds Garden Centre near Twyford.

It wasn’t long before Ms Shepherd opened up her falconry centre, which now has a collection of 22 birds of prey including barn owls, peregrine falcons and hawks.  

Barn owl
Feathers and Fur has a collection of beautiful birds of prey

School collaboration

In the near future, Ms Shepherd hopes to collaborate more closely with local schools to help with environmental education. 

“We are hoping to provide owl boxes for local schools, and help teach the children about conserving natural habitats,” said Ms Shepherd. 

“We are very much British species-based and our main aim is to help provide environmental education on British wildlife.”

Scouts, Brownies and the Women’s Institute

Feathers and Fur Falconry offers school visits as well as educational talks for Scouts, Brownies, the Women’s Institute. It can also host birthday parties. 

As the centre marks their tenth anniversary on Monday, October 14, preparations are also in place for a book about the feathered characters that call the centre home.

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