I first had the privilege of meeting Paul Melton some three years ago, when he was introduced as the Falconry Instructor for a weekend event organised through SPICE. It proved immensely enjoyable and highly informative.
Paul was confident, friendly and approachable in answering group queries, whilst maintaining a professional demeanour with the highest regard for safety. He has tremendous affinity and respect for the birds and his enthusiasm is infectious.
Further weekend events followed and with Paul’s support and encouragement, in his capacity of Assessor for the Accredited Falconry Award, I studied for and achieved ‘Beginning Falconry’.
For anyone with an interest in falconry or looking to work towards the Accredited Falconry Award, I have no hesitation in recommending Paul. He generates extensive experience and knowledge in this field. He is well regarded, reputable and has an impeccable manner.
Gemma Hatchcroft BSc (Hons) MSB
I have worked alongside Paul for roughly 18 months, originally it was voluntary work.During that time i could see that no challenge was too big for him.
The birds that he flew ranged from small Kestrels all the way up to the heavier Chilean Blue Eagle and European Eagle Owl. He will always get all birds to their best working potential which makes Paul give some fascinatng and entertaining Falconry Displays, something that always keps me glued whenever i watch him, wtching him with so much passion and soul
He would give Courses/Experience Days that are an excellent value for money, he would give great talks giving fascinating facts about the bird he is flying. And he also gets the visitors opportunites to fly owls to the fist in a calm, quiet and relaxed way. He would also fly a range of falcons coming past the visitors at explosive speed, as well as if conditions are correct and down to the type of falcon, would give the visitors time to swing a lure and let them try for themselves.
Till this day i am still in regular contact with Paul, he is a very kind man, great to talk to and een though through the 18 months that i worked alongside him, not 1 day was ever the same. I was so enthusiastic everty single day i woke up because it was a question that i asked myself every single time before travelling to the centre;
“What are me and Paul going to get up today?”
It was a delight and a pleasure working alongide Paul as he is quite simply the best Lecturer, Teacher and Falconer i have worked alongside.
The health and well being of the birds comes first.’ These are the first words that I remember Paul saying to me on my first day of doing voluntary work with him. I thought that I would only be mucking out the birds and making tea, as with most voluntary work. How wrong could I be? I was flying Jasmine the tawny owl on the first day! This was to set a trend for the following months as my confidence grew with the birds. Paul was always there to guide and encourage me. Always ready to answer even the daftest of questions and pointing out the plusses and negatives of any action taken. I felt that his tutoring was not so much instruction but guidance through the correct steps to becoming a falconer.
Paul taught me how to look after the birds including cleaning out and maintenance of the mews, making sure the furniture (jesses & swivel etc.) were in good repair. Weighing and feeding the birds and understanding of how important weight management is . Handling and flying different types of birds, owls, hawks and falcons. Paul suggested that I take the beginning falconry course with Accredited Falconry Award. This gave me a very good grounding in the basics of falconry from husbandry through to getting a bird ready to make its first flight off the creance. This complemented the work I did with Paul. And I feel that all would be falconers should take this as a minimum before getting a bird of their own. It makes you realise the work and commitment that it takes to becoming a falconer.
I helped out when there were visitors to the center and I assisted Paul at flying displays and photographic workshops. I learned how to get the birds ready for the displays and how to talk to the public and answer any questions that they may have about the birds. One day I would on the moors at Lake Vyrnwy trying to get the birds to pose for photographs, the next, in a car showroom promoting the launch of the mini countryman and flying the birds inside. No two days are ever the same.
I was amazed at the knowledge that Paul had about falconry and he would happily take as much time as needed to explain anything that I was not sure of. Paul also has a good rapport with the public when we are out on flying displays, always including everyone regardless of age or ability. I remember once a young girl came to the centre with some other students and you could see that she was not at all happy being around the birds, but Paul put her at her ease and by the end of the day she was holding a bird on the fist. We also had some elderly people come to the center and Paul understood their limitations as to mobility but still made sure that they took part in their experience day to the full.
I always look forward to my days at the falconry, And knowing that I am working with someone that knows their art inside and out makes for an exciting and challenging experience.
I first met Paul Melton about 7 years ago when I joined the British Falconer’s Club as a total novice. I had always wanted to be a falconer since being very young and upon joining the club I bought my first bird, a young male Harris Hawk.
Paul offered to become my mentor and over the next few months, helped me train by bird, which has turned out to be a superb little hunter.
After Paul moved down to Wales as head Falconer at a Falconry Centre, I decided to sign up on to an Apprenticeship Scheme he was running and with his help and support, I successfully completed the Beginning Falconry Accredited Falconry Award. I later went on to become an assessor for the award and I now assess other new falconers that join the British Falconer’s Club.
Paul gave me the opportunity to work with a variety of other birds and as well as my male Harris, I now fly a female Harris and a saker falcon.
Thanks Paul for all your guidance and your friendship.