Birds of prey have captured people’s attention and imagination for generations, perhaps more so than any other group of birds.

This course is designed for anyone who’s had that fleeting or distant glimpse of a bird of prey and wants to be able to identify it. The course will cover how to identify British birds of prey in detail and some of the common mistakes and misunderstandings that can come from observing birds of prey. We will look in detail at each British species and also the clues and signs that are also left by birds of prey before putting these lessons into practice out in the field. We will also look at how nest boxes can be used to support the conservation of certain species and how finding and dissecting owl pellets can help us understand not only the species that ate the prey but also the condition of the surrounding habitat and environment. We will also look at the role of citizen science and how individuals can get involved in simple bird of prey conservation and gathering of scientific information including the role of the BTO and local raptor study groups.

The course will include:

  • Introduction to British birds of prey including habits and behaviours and confusing species.
  • General identifiable features using video and images and signs & clues.
  • Practical dissection.
  • Fieldwork to practice your skills.

We anticipate that this course will run with between 8 and 12 participants.

A basic level of fitness is required to be able to walk at a slow stop/start pace for 2/3 hours whilst out on an afternoon field trip.

If you are 18-25, you can get £50 off this course thanks to the Generation Green project. Click here to find out more and to get your voucher code.

Tutor: Jimmi Hill

Jimmi Hill has worked with birds of prey in captivity and the wild since leaving college. He has been monitoring British birds of prey for several years and also holds a current ringing licence under the BTO for birds of prey. He is a member of several Raptor study groups and is the founding trustee of Raptor Aid (, a registered charity dedicated to raising awareness about bird of prey conservation, carrying out talks and conservation projects in the UK and globally. When not thinking about birds of prey he’s probably monitoring them.

Please note, the fee is for tuition and refreshments only.

If you would like to book accommodation, lunch and an evening meal at FSC Preston Montford, please call 01743 852040.

Example Timetable

The course will be split between classroom and field sessions with an emphasis on observation and monitoring techniques. An outline programme comprises:


Classroom-based looking at species profiles and general identifiable features including specific habits and behaviours and signs and clues.
In the afternoon, we will head out in the field on a set route walk to look at putting the skills from the morning session into practice.


Classroom-based looking at confusing species and how to separate them, the role of nest boxes and designs that can be used. Owl pellet dissection session and a look at which monitoring programmes you can take part in and the role of the BTO and raptor study groups.
In the afternoon, we will head out in the field to put the above skills into practice

If you have booked accommodation at the centre, please arrive between 8:30am and 9:45am on arrival day, allowing time to settle into your room before the course begins

If you are a non-resident, please arrive by 9:45am.

The course will end at 17:00pm on the last day and we ask that rooms are vacated by 9.30am.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Up to 6 hours of tuition a day.
  • Tea and coffee making facilities available throughout the day.
  • Use of resources and facilities including workrooms and the centre grounds.

Bursaries and Subsidies

If you are 18-25, you can get £50 off this course thanks to the Generation Green project. Click here to find out more and to get your voucher code.

Before You Attend

What to bring:

  • Outdoor wear including suitable footwear such as walking boots.
  • Binoculars (If learners don’t own a pair please let the FSC office know and we will try and provide some).
  • A note pad for both classroom and in the field.
  • Spotting scope if you have one but this isn’t critical!
  • Warm clothes.
  • Small rucksack, flask / water bottle.
  • Sun cream, insect repellent.