The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, which was established by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi in 1999, has become the largest falcon hospital in the world, treating approximately 6,000 falcons per year. Today the hospital offers treatment for all bird species and boasts its own Falcon Breeding Center, a Small Animal Veterinary Hospital, a Pet Care Center (boarding kennels, cattery, grooming, dog agility park), and facilities for education, training and research. It also runs the trap-neuter-run program for feral cats in the Abu Dhabi emirate. The falcon hospital has received numerous national and international awards and recognitions for its services, as well as its Falcon World Tour, which has become one of Abu Dhabi’s biggest tourist attractions.
After seeing the falcons at the Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) we were keen to learn more about these beautiful birds and signed up for a Falcon World Tour – you have to book online or call their office to reserve a space.Tours run Sunday-Thursday from 10am – 2pm. The tour (without the optional lunch) costs 170 AED per person and it was definitely worth it! We had a very enthusiastic Emirati guide who took us around the expansive, very modern premises of the Falcon Hospital, including the:
– Falcon Museum
– Falcon Hospital Clinic
– Hall of Fame (awards and recognitions for the hospital)
– Owl Aviary
– Falcon’s Moulting Aviary
– Museum of the Sheikhs and their falcons
– Complimentary drinks and Souvenir Shop
In the clinic you get to see the falcons up close and watch ongoing treatments – the vets were very patient and explained everything they were doing in great detail, answering questions and allowing people to touch and photograph the falcons.
We watched a routine procedure involving the trimming, sharpening and filing of a falcon’s claws, the sharpening and trimming of its beak, and a feather inspection, including the attachment of a clip to the bird’s main tail feather. This clip is used to attach a small device to measure the falcon’s speed.
Loss / breakage of certain feathers doesn’t only look silly but also causes some serious flight control issues for these speedsters, so the hospital has a large set of replacement feathers and we were shown how you can fix anything with a bit of superglue, toothpicks and needles.
Then we moved on to the patients in the waiting area, where the vets explained the differences between the different species.
The highlight was that we got to hold, touch and feed one of the center’s falcons.
The facilities are impressive, the tour was informative and the staff very friendly and knowledgeable – you can see why this place got so many awards! If you want to learn more about these amazing raptors and get the chance to interact with them, go and do the Falcon World Tour!
The Abu Dhabi Animal Shelter, also managed by the Falcon Hospital, is located on the same premises and the Arabian Saluki Center is right behind it, so there’s more to see and do in the area before or after seeing the falcons.