About Tony

I had a passion about birds and particularly birds of prey from a young age. I first became involved in Falconry as a hobby, I had little spare time on my hands as I was still very committed as a dairy farmer but I did manage to fly and care for one Harris Hawk called Boongar, my first bird. I was a third generation farmer; my grandfather had started the herd some 90 years previous. We all know the story of how farming has been affected by global economics and I am afraid that in 1998, the BSE crisis caused the demise of my farming career. Not that we had any animals with the dreaded disease but the economic situation was dire and I had no choice.

Over the ensuing years I have built my passion into my business and I feel very blessed that I have been able to do this. I originally launched Raptorcare as a business to take other peoples birds of prey to care for them whilst they were away. A bird of prey is not like a budgie and cannot be left with your next door neighbour (unless he is a falconer of course) I was sure that people would appreciate someone with some experience to look after their birds. This service is still something that Raptorcare does but we have expanded to become a display team.

This was not something I had originally planned to do but things just happened. I got asked to do a talk locally and then to provide a static display at our local village show. This soon expanded to being asked if I did flying displays. I think I was coerced into doing these flying displays but once I had achieved a couple of these and realised I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of training the birds and developing some sort of entertaining dialogue to go along with it, the displays became a large part of the business.

The living history was a natural progression on this. I have always been interested in the historical side of falconry and actually find the involvement in the re-enactors set up rather enjoyable, they are a great bunch of people. The public love the historical displays and so do I. My wife says that I just enjoy dressing up! She might have point. The other angle is that I am just reincarnated and was originally a medieval falconer. My set up puts me as Grunge, the Falconer to The Earle of Ducie and I have his coat of arms hanging in the back of the tent. Our farm is on the Earle of Ducie’s estate. The name Grunge was coined by my wife who says that I look very grungie when I come home from a weekend away, cooking over open fires and not shaving (or washing very much!)

My aim is to carry on bringing falconry to the public and to increase environmental awareness of wildlife in general, particularly the bird of prey.

 
Design by Gary Storey