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Video: Eden gets up close and personal with some birds of prey

Get ‘orni’ with it: We get the full ornithological experience by visiting Sudbury’s one and only falconry where you can have birds of prey flock to you

Did you know that Sudbury has a falconry where you can interact with birds of prey? I didn’t, until a few days ago.

Two years ago, falconer Emily Wrenshall opened up the Talon and Bark Falconry in the Chelmsford area after seeing a gap in the market for Northern Ontario.

“In Southern Ontario everything tends to be closer, so it’s a lot more convenient for people to go to those places [falconry centres],” Wrenshall said. “For us, if we wanted to go to those centres, we would have to drive five (or) six hours to get down close to Toronto or even further. So I’m hoping that by trying to develop a falcon centre here, people can experience that joy without the hours of driving that’s associated with it.”

Wrenshall has been a falconer for about six years now and she currently has four birds of prey at her practice. I got to meet all of them, but I became pretty good pals with one particular bird.

The Harris’s hawk I befriended is named ‘Komori’, a Japanese word for ‘bat’ (the animal). 

“He earned it when I went to collect him from the breeder. He latched onto the top of the roof fencing and closed his wings, hanging upside down like a bat,” Wrenshall said. 

Wrenshall walked me through the process of safely interacting with birds of prey. She had me put on a thick leathery glove and placed a piece of chicken on my hand. It took no longer than five seconds before Komori soared over and perched lightly on my arm.

I was expecting the bird to weigh more so I did a few shoulder presses the night before, in preparation for the falconry (as if that would help the noodly state of my arms). But it was surprisingly light and the talons didn’t dig into my arm either. 

It was truly a surreal experience seeing such a beautiful bird up close. I wanted to pet Komori, but Wrenshall advised otherwise. It was a fair call.

The Talon and Bark Falconry doesn’t just offer falconry services, but also pest bird control and falconry apprenticeship courses. Talon and Bark also offers bird of prey experience sessions to the public.

For information on all of Talon and Bark’s services, visit the website here.

If you live in the Greater Sudbury region, I would highly recommend visiting the farm of flock and feathers. You can also learn more about Talon and Bark Falconry by visiting their Facebook page.