Keeping birds of prey

Birds of prey kept in captivity need around the clock care. They can’t just be a passing fancy. It’s not easy to find someone with the skills needed to look after them when you are away from home. Before considering keeping any bird of prey, you need to think carefully about the time commitment, garden space and funds you will need.

Do I need to ask for permission?

Yes. Before you make any commitments you must write to us asking for permission.

You can do this by either:

  • Emailing us at corporateadmin@berneslaihomes. OR
  • Writing to us at Corporate Admin, Berneslai Homes, PO Box 627, Barnsley, S70 9FZ.

You also need to get any necessary approvals from Barnsley Council’s Building Control and Planning. You should include a copy of any certificate or approval letter with your application.

What else do I need to send with my application?

When you apply you will need to give us a scaled plan showing the boundaries of your garden and the position of the aviary. You should also tell us the type and size of the aviary. Any structures should not take up more than one third of the garden area. You should include these along with your application.

You must include with your application evidence that you are a member of a reputable falconry or bird of prey club. You must attend an approved course (these are usually run by falconry and bird of prey clubs) on the subject, before buying a bird. You should include evidence that you have been on a good quality beginner’s course in bird of prey keeping, with your application.

Are there any legal requirements that I have to meet?

If you are planning to buy, sell or display to paying customers a bird of prey, you need to check whether the bird is listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). You can find out at in the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) section. If the bird is listed, you will need an Article 10 Certificate from DEFRA. You should check if the bird is listed on Annex A of the CITES regulations, and if so, the bird should have the correct rings and CITES permits.

You will need to register with DEFRA any bird of prey that is listed on the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Schedule 4, and the bird must have a leg ring and/or microchip. For birds not on these lists, proof of breeding would be the bird having the correct sized closed ring and the documentation from the breeder or the previous owner.

You must give us evidence that these legal requirements have been met before obtaining a bird.

You will also need to provide proof of breeding to prove you obtained the bird legally.


Are there any rules about the aviary?

The aviary must be suitable for the bird(s) to be kept in. Any individual aviary should be a minimum width and length of at least double the wingspan of the species. It must also meet our other conditions relating to structures within a garden area.

Do I need to know the laws?

There are many laws regarding the keeping of birds of prey. It is your responsibility, as the owner or keeper of the birds, to know about and understand these laws. Saying you didn’t know about the law is not an acceptable excuse for breaking the law. You should therefore make sure you know which laws apply to you at all times.

Anything else I need to know?

You must not break the conditions of your tenancy agreement. Tenancy regulation 9 in your tenancy agreement gives the rules relating to keeping animals.

What action will you take if the bird doesn’t seem to be cared for properly?

If we have any concerns about the well-being of the bird(s), we will report the matter to the RSPB or RSPCA.

What happens if I end my tenancy?

If you give notice to end your tenancy, you will have to remove the aviary from your garden before you leave.

If permission is granted, how long does it last?

We will review permission once a year. This will include a site inspection and if needed, a viewing of the required documentation.