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The ancient art of falconry found in Hadley, Massachusetts

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HADLEY, Mass. -- Not far from where the current flows down the Connecticut River, there are 30 acres of farm land in Hadley, Massachusetts where Chris Davis offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with nature.

You don't come across someone like Davis everyday. He's a master falconer who gives guests the unique chance to handle one of his birds.

"What I do here is provide people who are interested in raptors an opportunity to come up for a close-up, hands-on experience with one of my Harris's hawks," Davis said.

The age-old sport dates back at least 4,000 years, and with a protective glove provided by Davis, visitors can have a hawk come and land right on their forearm.

"This 15-year-old male Harris's hawk has flown to thousands of people," he said. "I fly to kids as young as 5...he's flown to people in their 90s."

Guests learn about the history of falconry and get to see the talons in action. "The business end of the bird," as Davis puts it.

"To have that brief, hands-on experience with the bird, to be able to look at them up close and look at the details of the feathers and the feet, to have that experience with the bird flying to their gloved hand, it's really unpredictable, dynamic, and interesting."

New England Falconry runs almost year round.  Davis offers a variety of different sessions. The introductory session is 45 minutes and costs $75 per participant. There’s an extended session that lasts 90 minutes and costs $150 per person.

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