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“The Handling day experience is absolutely brilliant!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Yaraks Birds Of Prey Falconry Centre

Yaraks Birds Of Prey Falconry Centre
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Cullompton
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: We are open for public visitor entry Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. We have birds flying throughout the day from 10.30am - 4pm close up to visitors and a set Flying display at 12.30pm. Yarak is a stand alone specialist Bird of Prey Centre and is not attached to an attraction as a sideshow. The centre is run by experienced professional falconers that really care about their birds and customers. All the birds here are classed as "family" and are treated with a huge amount of respect and want for nothing. Yarak caters for hands on experiences, handling and flying our birds.
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
“The Handling day experience is absolutely brilliant!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

My partner and I did the full day handling experience and it surpassed all expectations. The centre is lovely, well designed, clean and well maintained. All the staff are extremely friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable. They obviously love their jobs and the banter between them is amusing...
The birds are very well looked after and the experience you have both indoor and outdoor is
extraordinary! I never thought I would have an enormous Eagle sitting on my arm or have a beautiful Harris Hawk land on my hand. In a small group of only 10 people, you get so many intimate opportunities with the very beautiful birds of prey they have here. I have only ever watched other people display falconry I never thought I would get so up close and personal with these very beautiful and majestic birds. Highly recommended to all. Lovely food too!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Curly P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
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English first
exeter
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fabulous experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

We actually visited in April but it has been on my mind ever since that I had to leave a review to let people know what a gem of a place this is. We had a full day experience, I personally didn't think i was going to enjoy the day quite as much as i did. The birds are incredible but John is the real star. With his passion for his birds and his wealth of knowledge you will leave Yarak feeling like you have learnt so much as well as having a relaxing day out. All the staff were so helpful and the food was also very good. We cannot recommend enough!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank gregpank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
30 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Fascinating!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2014

I'm a self-confessed birds of prey groupie, so I fell eagerly on a two-for-one voucher in my local paper. We weren't too sure what to expect, having read that Yarak no longer does flying displays at set times, but the "birds are flown all day". We took this to mean that every now and then we might catch one of them in the air, if we were lucky.

But the reality was much better. We arrived late morning, to find John flying Kahn, a stupendous Golden Eagle cross, with a group booked on the experience. As casual visitors, we didn't get to handle the birds, but we were able to sit on comfy benches, up close, and watch, which was very nearly as good.

For the rest of the day, John flew one beautiful bird after another, each with his/her own personality, which were described to us entertainingly and informatively.

There was a break for lunch, when we looked round the aviaries. It was heartening that the owls have darkened areas within theirs, where they can hide from the light and the public. At other centres I've visited, they've been forced to be out in the open all day -- and not all are diurnal -- and I've found it upsetting to see.

Also, John has a large number of rescued birds, and their past lives made for harrowing listening. I have to repeat one disturbing thing he said: The RSPCA don't want to know, because there isn't the glamour factor. ("They're not swans".) And no, folks, birds of prey are NOT pets!

I'd been told that birds of prey don't tolerate heat well, so finding them on perches in open sun took me aback.. Until the custom-made cooling hose came on! And John carries little squirter bottles during flying displays; the birds clearly love their showers!

The one thing I still struggle with is how closely the birds are tethered on their perches. I can see that this is for their own protection, but I still didn't like it when they would throw themselves off, flapping madly (I think it's called "baiting") seeming to be in distress.. But this is no reflection on Yarak.

The day finished in the indoor area, where we were given a marvellous display by Bella, the Eurasian Eagle Owl, who flew silently about within inches of our heads.

I suppose my only suggestion would be, as I said to John afterwards, that it would be nice to have some sort of information board in the falcon area, so we'd know what we're looking at when they're out on perches.

The only down side to an otherwise brilliant day was when, during the wait for the indoor display, rather than just sit there, I wandered out to have another look at the falcons perched nearby. I then noticed a small barn owl in an aviary and started towards it, intending to have a slightly closer look. Only to find myself being shouted at by a member of staff, who told me I "should go back inside." I explained that I just wanted to see the barn owl more closely.. To which she said "This is private!" ... Which was true. But the indoor flying area does happen to open onto this area.

I accept I'd strayed into a Staff Only part. And "I'm sorry, we'd rather visitors didn't come over here because....." or anything a bit gentler, rather than making me feel herded like a naughty schoolchild, would have been fine. But this incident shook me up and made me feel, briefly, unwelcome.

I'm sure it was a one-off and I mention it not to suggest it's the norm at Yarak, but because it was so avoidable and it would be a shame if it happened again.

That blip aside, we had a fantastic time, and also voted it great value. We only had coffee and a cake, so can't speak for the food, but the little outdoor eating area is nice. And the loos are clean!

Highly recommended!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Annith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Fantastic day.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2014 via mobile

I was booked in for the full day experience and my partner had a spectator coupon. We both had a really great time.
We both got up close and personal to all of the birds. They were all stunning and all definitely had their own personalities.
The owner was extremely knowledgeable and just great.
I would recommend this day out to anyone.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank LittleMonster1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
john P, Owner at Yaraks Birds Of Prey Falconry Centre, responded to this review, 22 July 2014
Thank you so much for the lovely comments.
We are glad to hear that you enjoyed your day with our birds.
Thank you.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plymouth
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Amazing day”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2014

Booked a full day handling experience for my husband for his birthday and I went along as a spectator. What an amazing day to see these animals up close.

We arrived just after ten. At check in we were asked to order lunch if we wanted it which we did. We then had a quick look around outside at some of the owls. We were taken into a barn area where we met Tig. What a delightful little owl. He flew from one end of the barn to the other taking food from my husband and the other experience day attenders. It was a small group of four so there was plenty of time for them to spend with the animals. Tig was quite happy to land anywhere he felt like it, including on spectators. They ask you not to touch or smooth them but that's for the birds and owls benefits and that is their first priority. Some of the stories we heard were horrifying. Why anyone would think you can keep these beautiful birds and owls is astonishing.

All the staff at Yarak are extremely knowledgeable and answered all the questions asked of them. John is running an amazing place.

After Tig were were taken up to the field where they handled and flew a barn owl and a Harris hawk. We also got to see a black barn owl who was adorable.

We stopped for lunch which was ready for us and then back out to the field where John brought out Khan, an absolutely amazing Golden Eagle. The trust between John and Khan was amazing to see. My husband got to hold him and then had him jump from the perch to his arm. Khan is about a week away from flying again so we will have to go back and visit just to see him again but this time, flying. As I said, john and his teams ultimate priority are the birds and owls and their well being is always the most important thing.

There a lot of rescue birds at Yarak who they work hard with to give them a better life. Next was a buzzard who was amazing. She was so quick in flight and amazing eyesight. She wasn't going to miss out on food. There was no hiding it either!

Finally we met a Bengal Owl who was rescued from a bird of prey centre. She was living in a 4 x 4 box for the first two years of her life with the public approaching her. She was terrified, Buffy is now,totally rehabilitated and flying around, landing on perches collecting food. We got some amazing photographs of her in flight. The session was called to an end as the weather got progressive hot during the afternoon and was far too warm for the birds. We were due to see a falcon in flight but it was far too hot for them. We weren't disappointed because by the end of the day if you don't love these animals like the people at Yarak then it's not the day it should have been.

We will definitely go again and would recommend it to anyone. Thank you to John and all at Yarak. You have every right to be extremely proud for what you have achieved.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank billbaileyPlymouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
john P, Owner at Yaraks Birds Of Prey Falconry Centre, responded to this review, 20 July 2014
Thank you so much for all the lovely comments.
Our birds are like family to us and are indeed our top priority above all else. Glad you enjoyed being with them.
Thank you.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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