Other than by visiting a zoo, one rarely gets the chance to get up close and personal with large birds of prey.
It’s quite a sight to walk into the main clinic area of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and see rows of mighty, sharp-taloned falcons, tamely and peacefully perched side by side on green astroturf stands with hoods covering their eyes as they wait to be seen to by the clinic staff. You can watch the birds get their check-ups, watch the clinic staff tend to their charges, maybe even have the resident falcon perch on your hand and nip at your fingers.
This peek behind the scenes is one of the highlights of a 2-hour tour where you learn everything and anything you wanted to know about falcons, their history, physiology and most importantly their place in Abu Dhabi’s culture as the national bird. Started in 1999 to care exclusively for falcons, the hospital has since diversified its offerings, including starting this tour programme and providing general veterinary services for pets.
The facility is located quite near the Abu Dhabi airport. Look out for the lonely signboard that comes up quickly along the expressway.
One of our contributors recently visited the Falcon Hospital, check out his amazing photo tour.