Great Horned Owl at the National Centre for Birds of Prey, Duncombe Park, Helmsley UK


We must stress that the majority of the work done at the Centre, although in the long run is for the birds, is not necessarily with them. To keep the centre looking as good as it does and keeping the birds clean and healthy, and the aviaries well maintained takes a lot of gardening, cleaning, painting, weeding etc. and this is not only the majority of the work volunteers help with but also takes up a lot of the staff’s time too!

There are aspects of volunteering which will get you directly involved with the birds, especially the flying team, but this is dependent on a number of things:

Staff availability to teach and supervise volunteers

Bird availability to be used off-demonstration for working with volunteers

The importance of other priority jobs and getting them finished

The work ethic and amount of time put in by the individual volunteer

Volunteering at National Centre for Birds of Prey

We have some very loyal volunteers who enjoy it enough to keep coming back, which makes it extra special for us, the good volunteers really make an enormous difference to the Centre. In fact most of the people who work at the National Centre for Birds of Prey started as volunteers.

The only thing we always stress to all potential volunteers is the need to understand that 99% of the work here is not with the birds. We all do painting, cleaning, clearing in the wood, gardening, more painting(!) and more gardening, and many other tasks that are around and about the birds but not with them.

Once you have been here regularly for a number of weeks and you prove yourself as a regular, reliable and capable volunteer, we try to make sure that you get some bird handling. However this bird handling does depend on what else is happening at the time and the availability of suitable birds.

The objective of our volunteer programme is that volunteers are inspired by being near the birds and feel valued (which they are) because they are an integral part of what we do. As a bonus, after proving themselves volunteers may have the chance to be involved in handling of the birds.

Volunteering at National Centre for Birds of Prey

All you have to do is contact us and we will put you through to our volunteer coordinator who will send you some further details and we will take it from there. We start work at 8.30 am, volunteers come in between 8.30 and a few not until 10.00, although these get far less bird handling in the long run. We carry on until we have finished!! Which is usually about 5.30, but when you come and go is entirely up to your own time allowances. The more regularly you come the more value you are to us and the birds and the more you will get involved.