Mary & Isla

Mary was the youngest member ever of The British Falconers Club when she joined at 11 years old. Learning from her falconer grandfather, it’s been in the family her entire life. Imagine growing up around a birds of prey!

Mary has multiple birds but the two that she uses the most are her raptors, Freddie and Isla, a stunning pair of Harris’s Hawks.

Harris hawks are used in falconry due to their intelligence and ability to adapt and learn quickly. As an apex predator they fear nothing and are the only bird of prey to fly in groups known as a cast. Part of the buteo family, their talons are razor-sharp, their beaks powerful and their eyesight 8 times better than the human eye.

As a full-time Falconer, every day is different and Mary is always in different locations. From clearing pigeons and pests from large factories and warehouses through to pest control on farms.

Falconry is said to be the worlds oldest sport and to have been practised by the Egyptians, it’s been influencing language and culture for thousands of years. These facts will score you big points in your next pub quiz!…

Did you know the term ‘fed up’ derives from the unwillingness of a gorged hawk at the end of a hunting day? Or that the mantle piece in your living room gets its name from a mantling bird of prey protecting its kill? And if you’ve ever felt at the end of your tether, that term relates to a tethered raptor too!

I photographed Mary at a stunning waterfall on a farm in North Yorkshire, thank you to the land owners for allowing us to shoot there and a massive thank you to Mary, her brother Charlie and Freddie and Isla!

Tom Barnes  <strong>Mary & Isla</strong>
Tom Barnes  <strong>Mary & Isla</strong>
Tom Barnes  <strong>Mary & Isla</strong>
Tom Barnes  <strong>Mary & Isla</strong>
Tom Barnes  <strong>Mary & Isla</strong>
Tom Barnes  <strong>Mary & Isla</strong>