When I snagged a season ticket to Biltmore Estate for 2020 – 2021 I had no intention of writing a Biltmore Falconry Review. I didn’t even know you could do falconry at Biltmore Estate. When we began looking around for fun activities for when we were Celebrating a Biltmore Christmas many of the outdoor activities didn’t seem as appealing because we were really gambling on the weather. And I knew the grounds wouldn’t be as beautiful as they would be if we waited until the spring.
But when I saw they had Falconry I decided to risk the weather. And as you can see from my short sleeved shirt in the picture above we ended up having a beautiful day.
Check out my information on Visiting The Biltmore Estate on a Budget!
When Can You Do It?
This activity is not available every day as Biltmore Estate is not the only location they have their class. So be sure if you want to do this to work your trip around it. Additionally it often fills up several months in advance so be sure to make a reservation as soon as possible.
Check out my Biltmore Estate’s Ultimate Know-Before-You-Go-Guide!
My Biltmore Falconry Review
A man walks into a lobby with a falcon!
To begin the experience you meet the falconers at Biltmore Inn. Be sure to arrive a few minutes early so you can look around at the beautiful decorations. The falconers just walk into the lobby with birds like they do it all the time. Which I guess they do. Jeff had a Peregrine falcon on his arm.
You can see one of the bird’s houses behind Jeff.
After introducing themselves, our falconers guided us out of The Inn and up a hill across the street. The path was steep, but only a few minute walk. The hawks are kept at the top of the hill in a shaded, wooded area.
Jeff began by teaching us a bit about falconry, how the birds are trained and how to interact with the birds. Our falconer focused on the Harris Hawk and Peregrine Falcon, since those are the types of birds that are part of the Biltmore Falconry experience. All his birds are named after beers so you can be sure to meet Sam Adams, Pigsah and some of their friends.
My mom being amazed!
After going over the basic concepts we got to put on gloves of our own and learn how to handle the birds. While there are a few things to remember you don’t need to be nervous- you can tell the falconers have done this many times. You just keep your wrist straight and set up a comfortable spot for the bird to land. The birds bones are hollow and they have lots of feathers so they don’t weigh nearly as much as you would think. I was very nervous but it was amazing.
When a hawk looks into your eyes I swear it sees your soul!
After each person in the group was comfortable interacting with the hawk, we were ready for the free flying experience. Free flying means the bird is completely free and can fly to where it likes. You have a glove on with a piece of mouse in it (yeah it’s not the most pleasant thing) so the bird will fly wherever it wants and then come back to you to grab it’s treat. There is no way to describe this to you properly so I made a video.
Do not miss out on this opportunity if you have a chance. These birds are treated very well and I had no problem supporting this falconer. Biltmore Estate takes great care of them and provides an excellent experience for their visitors. Hopefully this Biltmore Falconry Review helps you make your decision about whether to use your hard earned money for this!
What Is The Cost?
At the time of publication, January 2021, the Falconry Experience is $125 per person plus tax. If you are with someone who wants to go but you do not want to participate yourself it is $75 plus tax. We had a few of those on our experience and they were great photographers and videographers for their friends.
In order to do this you must CALL to make the reservation. They will make sure you have enough time to get in all your activities in!