Wild birds in the hand of Mick;FE Focus

STUDENTS are being encouraged to aim high with an evening class in falconry.

Mick Stamp, a keen student of birds of prey, is running the course at The People's College, Nottingham, because he wants to reduce the number of hawks abandoned or mistreated.

Mr Stamp, a lecturer in vehicle maintenance, keeps tawny owls, kestrels and a buzzard in his back garden in Nottingham.

He set up the course to show people the realities of keeping a bird of prey - he said he would rather his course put off the half-hearted than see birds abandoned.

"People go to these game fairs and see falconry when it's a nice sunny day and everybody's enjoying themselves," he said. "The trouble is most of the training is through the winter. It's freezing cold and you're stuck out there in the middle of Derbyshire in the rain. It's a great sport, but it can be hard work."

The 13-week course begins in October and includes lessons on keeping the birds. Students will also go out and about for falconry lessons with Mick and Sonna, is American red-tailed buzzard.

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