i worked here for 8 years and only very recently left my post


Comments: 138 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

angel0fbread19 karma

Have you ever considered getting into bird law?

danthebum3 karma

No...law would not be a strength for me

rocket_jocky9 karma

Have you ever taught a falcon how to punch?

danthebum16 karma

Falcon Punch? is it similar to the donkey punch?

bigbadbyte9 karma

Do you think this could ever work?

Have you tried it?

danthebum7 karma

Tried and failed sorry....me and my missus met on a blind date....

EvilTech51506 karma

Now if some nut geneticist ever recreated a Argentavis magnificens from DNA residue, would you, or anyone you know be crazy enough to try and raise/train/feed the thing?


danthebum3 karma

Now i know for a FACT my boss would love to give it a go....I on the other hand would fly it if it was already trained....untrained animals are just too unpredictable....id like to try helping to rear one though!! Looks absolutely INCREDIBLE!

AwfulMechanic4 karma

Tell us more about your Raven. They are super smart, how is it like living with one?

danthebum7 karma

aww...he called scooby. Had him from 4 months old. He only lived with me for about 4 months while he was in training. NOISY is what they are. He mimics all sorts of stuff...the other birds, dogs, people, phone rings!! Loads of fun to work with and a real honor to have been accepted by him

flame2point03 karma

Hi! I live in the US, and I recently passed the exam to get an apprentice license. Once I get a place to live for a while I will find a sponsor, but my plan for a long term future is to live in the UK. Whats the difference between doing it here and there? Specifically, what point of experience do you need to be to fly a Harris' Hawk? They're my favorite, and here they're planning to make them available to apprentices, but for now there's only Redtails and Kestrels for those without 2 years of experience and a general license.

danthebum1 karma

i have to say the UK has next to no regulations unfortunately. I would say ask this here /r/birdsofprey I am not really one to help as i am not a private falconer i was a display falconer at a bird of prey centre. hope this helps in some way

fukkinmike3 karma

Cool! OK: Are the birds caught or raised?

Ever worried they won't come back?

danthebum5 karma

All the birds are raised from chick if we worried they wouldnt come back we would never fly them!

master_of_all_a_v2 karma

In the US, select birds can be caught. Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels for example.

danthebum3 karma

Yeah i heard the US has much stricter controls over who can take up the sport

foolofsheet3 karma

Any injuries?

danthebum11 karma

Many....The worst being kicked both feet in my face by an African Fish Eagle...needed putting back together a bit like a jigsaw lol

LookWhatDannyMade3 karma

What are some birds that are on your "lifetime list," in other words, ones that you haven't had the chance to work with, but would most like to?

danthebum7 karma

hmmm....good one the secretary bird because they are so unusual, and the Andean Condor....purely because of their size!!

WeLikeToHaveFunHere2 karma

Do you ever get nervous and think your little winged friend's gonna claw out your squishy parts?

danthebum3 karma

only once when i got bit by a vulture high up on the inside of my thigh...bit close for comfort that was!!

abelcc2 karma

Any accident where the guests were harmed by the birds? Or just tell us any memorable story.

danthebum4 karma

WOW too many to post...my Raven has bitten a few folks and stole a dummy (pacifier) from a baby's mouth! A eurasion griffon vulture landed on a lady's back...No harm done. staff tend to get the most injuries!!

High_53 karma

How do you have a Raven? They are not a bird of prey. I'm studying right now to be an apprentice Falconer.

danthebum6 karma

No...i am from UK and the Raven was part of the display team...highly intelligent birds

katzenjammer3602 karma

Edit: Taken care of!!

danthebum5 karma

Apologies....My aim here was to be short and sweet....as stated by others there are pages here with far more detail....i was both a game falconer and display falconer.....it was more the range of birds i flew that i was here to talk about. Sorry again if i was misleading. Not my intention

katzenjammer3601 karma

Yeah, I'm sorry if I sounded rude. I'm mostly just concerned with someone coming away thinking they can get a hawk or falcon as a pet. I wish I had the experiences with lots of species. It definitely gives you more rounded skills! Working pretty purely with Red-Tailed Hawks and American Kestrels doesn't exactly help with handling accipiters or large falcons, lol. Do you plan to continue gamehawking now that you've left your position at gauntlet?

danthebum5 karma

Maybe....i am really trying to concentrate on raising my baby daughter...but it will be hard for me not to keep in touch with the rush of the hunt

danthebum1 karma

I am new to reddit....what did i miss?

johngrape2 karma

Have you heard of parahawking?

danthebum3 karma

Yes looks awesome would love to give it a go

abelcc2 karma

Do you have any cool pic/gif of birds?

Please share

Also what's your opinion of the hugely popular /r/birdswitharms?

danthebum2 karma

I have Many, Many pics. will just have to set up an image shariny account. and you would recommend for use on here?

Drummer24272 karma

Let's say you live in an area that has a falconry season , which you can use these trained birds to catch small game, how do you obtain the bird in the first place?

katzenjammer3604 karma

Hello! I don't know where Dan is from. But there's a great subreddit /r/birdsofprey full of super knowledgeable and nice falconers. It sounds to me that Dan is from the UK, their falconry is extremely different from that in the U.S., mainly due to their laws against obtaining wild birds. If you check out /r/birdsofprey and look at the sidebar there are a lot of great resources. www.themodernapprentice.com is a really good site to go if you're thinking about becoming a falconer.

The short answer to your question is that many birds are legally trapped from the wild following strict guidelines, although more seasoned falconers can purchase captive bred birds from breeders. For both you are required to have a state or federal (sometimes both) license in order to have a bird of prey.

danthebum3 karma

Wish i lived in US the UK needs these kind of controls...unfortunately too many idiots are able to attempt the sport. Thanks for the links

danthebum3 karma

They are captive bred. There are many reputable breeders out there. They tend not to sell birds to inexperienced people

culunulu2 karma

My last name translates to "falcon" in polish. Just saying I appreciate your line of work

danthebum2 karma

Why thank you.....do have an inbred interest then?

Jakuskrzypk2 karma

How often do you think about flying a falcon if it would be just big enough?

danthebum3 karma

A falcon would be flown 6/7 months of the year with us and 6 days a week. The rest of the year off to moult. I was a UK display falconer and we rested a lot of birds during off season. Not sure what you mean about "if it would be just big enough"?

Jakuskrzypk1 karma

fly on it if the bird would be big enough

danthebum3 karma

oh i see haha...i would prefer to ride on a vulture

Jakuskrzypk1 karma

I have some real questions aswell.

what kind of falcons do you work with?

how fast are the falcons ?

What are some names for falcons?

how do you get into it?

where do you get the food for them? what is the food? Is it hard to get?

can i get a falcon as a pet or do i need to have some qualifications? how can i get a falcon?

danthebum4 karma

I worked with peregrines, sakers, lanners and gyrs. Top speeds up to 200mph. In the UK its a matter of getting to know someone who flys there own bird and is a member of a club. DO NOT just get a bird THEY ARE NOT PETS. Did you want their personal names or the species as above?

Jakuskrzypk1 karma

personal name of the animals like this one is frank and this one is bob. are there any usual names for falcons?

danthebum5 karma

We actually had one called Frank. Female Lanner called Lorna and a Lannerette called Ferdie. A Saker called Mac. Peregrine Called Francesca. A Kestrel called Alan you get the idea.....

Jakuskrzypk1 karma

One or two more question, how often do they bread, just once a year? and how many eggs do they produce, How high is the survival in the wild vs breed by you? what is they life expectancy wild vs breed?

danthebum4 karma

Birds will breed at one time of the year dependent on the species. They can produce 1 to 5 eggs again dependent on species. Eagles for example may lay two eggs maximum and a tawny owl 5. Normally in the wild only 1 or 2 will survive. In captivity we try to ensure a 100% survival rate (this is very difficult) Birds tend to live twice as long in a captive environment compared to in the wild. Length of life depends on the size of the bird....bigger they are the longer they live

Drezlek2 karma

Damn thought you were the band, still cool though! What's your favorite band?

danthebum1 karma

interesting i have never heard of the band Falconer.....will have to look them up. What style of music are they? Bear in mind my favorite band is Pink Floyd

Drezlek1 karma

They're power metal, just metal enough to be awesome but not so metal that it scares off the general public haha.

danthebum1 karma

Cool...where they from? Any thing like AC/DC? I like them too....although there isn't much music i don't enjoy trying out. I will check them out

throwewayed2 karma

Have you ever worked with owls? If so how was working with them? What is their behavior like? Did you enjoy it?

danthebum1 karma

I worked with MANY species of owl. They are the least intelligent but by far the most effective hunters! They have very low intelligence and are not "exciting" to fly. But they are often the easier to predict. As they have such accuse hearing they are often easily distracted particularly at an early age.

Nichi8071 karma

Do your kids think it's cool that you raise and train birds of prey? Personally, I would be psyched to have a parent that did that.

danthebum2 karma

my 6 year old does and so do all her friends but my other is just 8 weeks old and will have no memory of me doing it

martigan991 karma

if a bird loses a talon does it grow back?

danthebum3 karma

occasionally if it happens at a very young age i have heard. but in my experience a broken talon has never grown back

miss_meep1 karma

Do birds of prey have distinct personalities? Are some more 'fond' of individual humans than others?

danthebum3 karma

Oh absolutely...particularly eagles and vultures. It can depend how long you have known them and how much you were there during their rearing. We had a Martial Eagle who didnt like me much but a Hooded Vulture who fancied me!!

TheZbeast1 karma

Can you explain the process of becoming a Falconer? I understand that you generally have to be an apprentice first, correct?

Congrats on having an awesome job. Birds of prey are so awesome, you can see the intelligence in their eyes.

danthebum3 karma

As i live in the UK our laws around falconry are none existent. My knowledge of US falconry is limited. Ask this at /r/birdsofprey they will explain the entire process i believe. But you are correct about the apprentice bit and i think you then have to find a sponsor (a qualified falconer) and you must catch and train a wild bird....but i am not certain about that. hope you get the answers you are looking for and i pointed you in the right direction

TheZbeast1 karma

Oh okay, I had no idea they were so different. I'd like to ask some follow up question if you don't mind.

How connected to these birds do you feel? Do they become friendly or affectionate to you or are they all business?

danthebum3 karma

Any bird that you rear from young becomes like a part of the family. You get to know their individual traits. Affection only seems to come from the human. Birds don't work on the same level. They survive through instinct so affection is not shown but it can be perceived by the owner as such. Birds of prey are really only interested in 3 things. FOOD, SEX and SURVIVAL

TheZbeast2 karma

Very interesting, thanks for sharing and doing an AMA!

danthebum3 karma

it is a pleasure. Only my second post on reddit. Am amazed at the response this got! I now have a good feel for it here and i like it.

quantumaviator1 karma

My favorite bird is the peregrine falcon, how is it working with them? Do they have "personalities" like the other birds you have worked with? I live in Idaho and we have an amazing birds of prey center, went there on a field trip and have always wanted to get into falconry, any steps on how to get started?

danthebum3 karma

All birds have personalities and certain traits that make them who they are. It is terrifying when a peregrine stoops at you at about 200mph! I am from the UK so our regulations are very different. Try asking at the bird of prey center abut possibly volunteering maybe?

quantumaviator1 karma

Is it true that if a ravens tongue is split in half then they can mimic human speech like a parrot? My 8th grade english teacher told us that after we had finished "the raven" by poe.

danthebum2 karma

My experience suggests that a raven can mimic any sound near perfectly if it is heard often enough....mine said hello and get off...no split tongue involved

EvilTech51501 karma

I think that particular wives tale comes from teaching crows to talk. Some of them needed to have a small amount of the connective tissue cut down under the tongue to be able to speak better.

danthebum1 karma

this is a guess but could that connective tissue split naturally if the bird tries hard enough to copy that sound? Humans tear muscles slightly when training..this makes them bigger or stronger....so would this happen for a bird?

EvilTech51502 karma

It's just connective tissue, I think it would elongate in time. Probably the trainers back in the old days saw the bird struggling and figured they would help things along. Course the problem is the muscle way in the back, and inside the tongue itself, the ones where people can make the tongue form a U, or the inverse. Those simply take exercise and time as they are fine motor control.

danthebum2 karma

there are some dated practices still being performed around the world so i wouldn't be surprised if somewhere this still happens

peevee781 karma


danthebum3 karma

in the UK there are hawking clubs..they are usually willing to allow you to observe on a meet. not sure of the set up in the US

KnuckleMeat1 karma

How much does a Falconer make in a year?

danthebum3 karma

Not a lot. In UK I was on 16000 a year. one of the best rates in the country i was told

KnuckleMeat1 karma

Yeah, but you have the coolest job title I can think of.

danthebum3 karma

no question....but a job title wont feed and clothe the kids or pay the bills.....leaving this job was one of the hardest decisions of my life!!

Look_Alive1 karma

If a bird escapes, how far do they generally travel? I live about 10 miles from Eagle Heights in Kent and the other day saw a man walking along the road with a bird of prey, carrying it with a glove. I assumed it was from Eagle Heights, but wasn't 100%

danthebum3 karma

a distinct possibility they will travel far if conditions are right...i have tracked many a bird for many a mile

uboat571 karma

How much would it cost to purchase a falcon, to train and be trained to use it, and what is its approximate upkeep costs?

danthebum3 karma

Advice i give to anyone considering taking it up....join a hawking club...find out if its deffinatley for you. There is alot of equipment to buy and of course the materials needed to house the bird properly.

LondonBanana1 karma

How does one get involved in falconry, and recommendations to good starter species?

Other birds of prey - can they be kept humanely without use in hunting/open air flying?

Risk or losing a bird if flying in open air?

I have a good zoological background, even worked at ZSL for a stint, but never had experience with avians directly other than a few birds I didn't handle much!

danthebum1 karma

i got involved accidently....i had no idea how much i loved it any animal can be looked after....no wild is EVER kept it chooses to stay flying off is the risk....all animals leave home at some some point....MOST return home at some point too

Gumby_Hitler1 karma

Is there one bird of prey you were more intimidated by than any others?

danthebum6 karma

A female Marabou Stork....even though she was all show...

lilikiwi1 karma

What kind of relationship do you have with the birds? What are they like personality-wise? as in, do they recognize you, interact, enjoy being pet, play....?

danthebum1 karma

i believe the more intelligent birds recognized the people they wanted to recognize.....

Jmanacid11 karma

Have you ever read the poem "the second coming" by William butler Yeats?

danthebum1 karma

no....post it here

aussum_possum1 karma

I'm pretty passionate about Birds of Prey of all varieties and I've been wanting to get into falconry for years. How would I go about starting? Do you know what the laws are like in Illinois? I can't find them anywhere. I've read that infant skulls have been found in the nests of Philippines Eagles. Do you think this is possible? What do you suppose it would look like if a peregrine falcon were to dive at top speed (242 MPH if I recall correctly) into a human's head? Have you read "My Side of the Mountain"? That book is the reason I wasn't to get into falconry, every since I read it in 5th or 6th grade.

danthebum1 karma

i am afraid i can not answer queries about us law....i was a uk display falconer

Rance_Geodes1 karma

Is your life anything like the Saturday night live skit of the falconer. If so I am pretty jealous.

danthebum1 karma

Never saw it...post a link to where i can see it and will be honest

DaBeach1 karma


I did falconry in Ireland about 8 years ago. One of the coolest experiences of my life. I'm lucky enough to work in an office now and CONSTANTLY see dog fights outside of my window with different types of hawks.

My only question is simple!

Can you post a picture of a baby bird of prey?!?!

danthebum5 karma

Not sure how to post a pic in the comments so here is a link to a baby Chaco Owl 1 week old https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/72569_10151625639136383_1823280949_n.jpg

Nutella_Bagel1 karma

What is your favorite bird to work with?

danthebum3 karma

Without any doubt the scavengers....i fell in love with hooded vultures...not pretty but so clever and full of personality

Nutella_Bagel1 karma

A friend of mine has been a falconer here for years in Florida - I've always been amazed that of all the hawks, eagles and owls he's worked with, he prefers crows...

danthebum3 karma

I love corvids...the raven i flew had a special relationship with me...we also had a pied crow. Was untrained when i left

craftymethod0 karma

Do you ever feel like a World of Warcraft character with your "pets"?

Gone on any "quests" lately with them? :)

danthebum2 karma

Unfortunately having never played WOW i wouldn't know how this should feel


Do you know the Falcon Punch?

danthebum2 karma

Already answered in an earlier post

HornyMikesBastards-9 karma

What is it like being a virgin?

danthebum11 karma

i have two children...my own...created half of each myself.

HornyMikesBastards-5 karma

Dan, that's awesome. I'm really glad that you were able to make test-tube babies.

All the best, Horny Mike

danthebum3 karma

Cheers mike....good luck getting shut of that horniness...don't get cramp