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 new entrants wishing to enter the bird control industry, and for existing employees / technicians or operatives using birds of prey for bird control. You will be working under the direct supervision of others who have responsibility for some aspects of bird control, including Sales, obtaining Wildlife Licenses, Public Liability Insurance, Marketing and Invoicing. You will not be personally responsible for the legal, reporting or administrative parts of the work.
You will be at least 16 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: Our higher level award (level 3 ) is designed for those who will work on their own account, being responsible for all aspects of the bird control operation including Licensing, Insurance, reporting etc.
What does the course cover?
This course focuses on:
- the background knowledge and understanding you will need to bring to the role, and
- the particular practical skills required to safely and competently fly birds of prey for bird control purposes.
- 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
- Minimising harm to target and non-target species
- Care of raptors during abatement operations
- First aid techniques
- Advanced telemetry
Certification is available at two levels:-
- Partial Certification (theory only)
- Full Certification (Theory and practice)
To achieve partial certification (theory only) you must:
- Complete all worksheets and submit them to email@example.com where they will be reviewed by an approved assessor
- Complete the online test/s achieving the minimum pass rate
- Demonstrate your basic raptor husbandry knowledge and skills (see pre-requisites below)
- Complete a telephone question and answer session with your assessor
To achieve full certification you must complete parts 1, 2 and 3 above, and
- Demonstrate your practical skills in the field, including initial survey, preparation of RAMS documents, flying skills and other practical aspects of the role.
- Complete a face to face 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 already hold the Lantra Beginning Falconry Award, then a short conversion course is available to bring you fully up to modern standards
If you do not already hold either of these awards you can discuss with your instructor / assessor how best to demonstrate your basic competence in these areas.
Successful candidates may apply for their services to be listed in the Register of Professional Falconers, and are entitled to apply for membership of the IRBPP
Find out more about the IRBPP here :
- Please note that the ‘Beginning Falconry’ course administered by Lantra does not meet the current International and Occupational Standards for Bird of Prey welfare and will not, on its own, satisfy the pre-requisite requirement.
- 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 and overseas your work must reflect the legal and practical aspects of your chosen territory.
- This course is available in other countries beside the UK. Please contact Raptor Awards for more detailed information on availability
The legal framework (Revised October 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 […]
What is public liability insurance? (Revised October 2021) Insurance is a form of protection for you, your employer and people who may be harmed by your activities. Insurance companies are paid to take the risk on behalf of their customers. Public liability Insurance covers financial risks that may incur when operating in the bird control […]
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 […]
Pest Species and their natural history (Revised October 2021) As an operative or technician working under the control / supervision of your employer the choice of control methods you will apply will be determined by the ‘Method Statement’ prepared by your employer. This document should clearly list the steps you must take on arrival at […]
Birds of Prey used in Pest Control operations (Revised October 2021) 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 […]
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 […]
Hazards and Risks (Revised October 2021) 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 […]
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 or […]
Why is site security important in Pest Control? We have already seen in ‘Hazards and Risks’ that you must always take care to ensure that as far as possible no injuries or damage are caused by your pest control activities. However, there are also many situations where you will be granted access to ‘secure sites’ […]
First Aid for Birds of Prey (revised October 2021) 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 […]