Level 3 Award -Bird Control using Birds of Prey

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In many countries the use of trained birds of prey to act as deterrents to avian pests (abatement) is increasingly seen as a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and natural solution that causes little harm to the target species.

It is a non-lethal method that many people find preferable to the trapping and destruction of birds that otherwise could have a severe impact on public health, and significant financial impacts on agriculture and other economic activities.

Furthermore, the use of trained birds of prey in reducing airstrikes, safeguarding passengers and reducing the significant costs of engine repair are well-established and documented.

However, this highly skilled and specialised approach to the abatement of avian pests has not, to date, been supported by a codified body of skills and knowledge required to carry out these activities safely, effectively and professionally.

This has now been addressed and this course is based on the International and Occupational Standards for bird control (abatement) which are  maintained by Raptor Awards Community Interest Company.

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for those already operating in the bird control sector, and for aspiring new entrants.  It is for those working on their own account, or supervising others in the bird control sector.  You will be responsible for all aspects of the work, including business insurance, wildlife licenses, health and safety and all other aspects of delivering a bird control operation.

You will be at least 18 years of age and you will probably already have experience of working with birds of prey in another capacity.  You may already be working in the abatement industry.

Note: If you are already working (or intend to work) as an operative or technician under the direct supervision of others, you may wish to study the level 2 award as an alternative.

What does the course cover?

This course focuses on:

  1. the background knowledge and understanding you will need to bring to the role, and
  2. the particular practical skills required to safely and competently fly birds of prey for bird control purposes.

Topics include:

  • The legal aspects of bird control in the UK
    • Licensing of bird control activities
    • Reports and returns required by law
    • Alternative abatement methods not requiring licensing
    • Insurance requirements for bird control activities
  • Objectives of abatement activities
    • Non-lethal deterrence
    • Choice of abatement methods
    • Record keeping
  • Avian pests and their natural history
    • Definition of avian pest
    • The harm caused  by avian pests
    • Common pest species encountered in the territory
    • The natural history of common pests and the impact on abatement operations
    • Less common pests in the territory and how to deal with them
  • Welfare of species during abatement
  • Welfare law and its implications for abatement
    • Choice of raptor species for the operation
    • Hazards and the mitigation of risk
    • Minimise harm to target and non-target species
    • Care of raptors during abatement operations
    • First aid techniques
    • Advanced telemetry


Certification is available at two levels:-

  1. Partial Certification (theory only)
  2. Full Certification (Theory and practice)

To achieve partial certification (theory only) you must:

  1. Complete all worksheets/workbooks and tasks and submit them to admin@raptorawards.co.uk where they will be reviewed by an approved assessor
  2. Complete the online test/s achieving the minimum pass rate
  3. Demonstrate your basic raptor husbandry knowledge and skills (see pre-requisites below)
  4. Complete a telephone question and answer session with your assessor

To achieve full certification you must complete parts 1, 2 and 3 above, and

  1. Demonstrate your practical skills in the field, including initial survey, preparation of RAMS documents, flying skills and other practical aspects of the role.
  2. Complete a question and answer session with your assessor

Note: face to face assessments are charged at £150  plus travelling expenses if not carried out at an assessment centre – prices correct at time of publishing.

What if I don’t pass all parts?

There is no time limit on completion of the course and the associated assessment.  If you do not pass any part of the course including the practical skills assessment you will receive feedback to help you understand where you need to do more work.

You can ask for a further assessment at any time. (Please note that this may incur re-test fees).

Are there any course pre-requisites?

You can start this course immediately, however, you are required to prove your basic competence in keeping and training birds of prey before we can issue a certificate for this course.

If you already hold the Raptor Awards modules C1 to C9 (Keeping birds of prey and Training birds of prey) then no further evidence will be required.

If you do not already hold these modules you can discuss with your instructor / assessor how best to demonstrate your basic competence in these areas.

Professional Recognition:

Candidates enrolled for this Award are eligible to apply for membership of the International Register of Bird of Prey Professionals.

Associate members have two years to work towards recognition as Full Members

Membership confers significant benefits that enable members to stand out from the crowd.


Find out more about the IRBPP here : 


  1. Please note that the ‘Beginning Falconry’ course administered by Lantra does not meet the International and Occupational Standards for Bird of Prey welfare and will not, on its own, satisfy the pre-requisite requirement.  Your instructor/assessor can advise on any steps you may need to take to satisfy this requirement
  2. The course assumes that you will carry out activities within England, and references and course information reflect this.  Where the law differs in the other nations of the United Kingdom your instructor will highlight the need for you to work with different licensing bodies or within a slightly different legal framework.
  3. This course is available in other countries beside the UK.  Please contact Raptor Awards for more detailed information on availability


(BC1) – First aid for injured Birds of Prey – L3

First Aid for Birds of Prey Bird control activities are often carried out in high risk environments, and unfortunately the Birds of Prey used can sometimes be injured whilst working.  You may be some distance from a specialist Bird of Prey Veterinarian, and your skill and knowledge about first aid techniques may prevent the loss […]

(BC2) – The legal framework in which bird control (abatement) takes place – L3

Revised January 2021. This is a self-study module that can be used to support your own learning, or used in addition to the learning gained from a course of instruction delivered by an Approved Raptor Awards Provider. The material contains direct links to approved sources of information, and suggestions about how to prepare for your […]

(BC3) – Insurance – L3

What is public liability insurance? Public liability Insurance covers financial risks that you may incur when operating your pest control business.  For example, you may cause damage to property or injury to a person. Although this may be entirely accidental you may still find yourself taken to court and sued for damages.  This can be […]

(BC4) – Outcomes of bird control actions – L3

Outcomes of bird control actions (Revised October 2021) To successfully complete this module, you must be able to demonstrate a good background knowledge and understanding in these areas The difference between Falconry and Bird abatement The desired outcomes of bird abatement Choice of abatement methods Record-keeping 1. The difference between Falconry and Bird abatement : It […]

(BC5) – Pest Species and their natural History – L3

You must know and understand: the definition of an avian pest and the potential harm caused the common pest species encountered in the territory in which you will operate the natural history of the common species and how this affects abatement operations other species in the territory and how and why they may become pests Note: […]

(BC6) – Birds of Prey used in Pest Control operations – L3

Using Birds of Prey for Pest Control. In some countries the use of Birds of Prey for Pest Control is not allowed.  In many countries the use of Birds of Prey is strictly controlled.  This lesson is about identifying which Birds of Prey may legally be used, and the pest species that may be controlled using them. What […]

(BC7) – Welfare implications of Pest control using Birds of Prey – L3

Why worry about welfare? Most countries around the world have legal and / or moral frameworks addressing the welfare of animals.  In many cases there are active animal protection bodies that lobby for welfare and animal rights. It is your duty as a Professional Bird Controller to be aware of the potential for causing harm […]

(BC8) – Hazards and Risks – L3

As a Professional Bird Controller you have responsibilities to yourself, your hawks, other people, the pest species and non-target species you may encounter. You must ensure that you correctly identify potential hazards before you start Bird Control operations, and you must take steps to minimise any danger to yourself and other people. What hazards might […]

BC9- Knowledge quiz – L3

This Knowledge quiz… … will help you to provide evidence of competence in your knowledge and understanding. Successful completion of the quiz is a compulsory element of the award and you must achieve at least 90% to obtain a pass. However, this online quiz on it’s own cannot test your application of knowledge in new […]