A COUPLE’S love of falconry has led to them launching a new venture.

Dairy farmers Tori Goodall and David Toms have long shared a passion of flying and hunting with birds of prey.

Last year, Tori’s parents, who live on the neighbouring farm, asked if they would take some of their holiday cottage guests out with them – and things have taken off from there.

The couple live at Northside Farm, beside the A66 near Bowes, where Northside Falconry is now based.

As well as Hawk Walks for visitors, the couple are also offering pest control services.

They have two female Harris hawks, two female goshawks, and Ozzy the Bengal eagle owl.

“We hope to get another couple of owls and another falcon but we do not want a lot of birds, we do not want to be a big bird of prey centre or anything like that,” said Tori.

Their birds are kept in peak condition for flying and are weighed each day and fed accordingly.

People who go on one of their Hawk Walks learn about the birds, are introduced to them, and invited to fly the Harris hawks – they are friendlier than the goshawks.

The walks are on their own land where an old railway track and ponds provide a happy hunting ground. They also have permission to fly on a large are of land in upper Teesdale.

The events have provided memorable experiences for families, couples and even shooting parties who leave their guns at home.

During the season, they are intrigued to see the birds hunting, working in unison with David and Tori and their dogs, and even ferrets, which are used to flush out the prey.

“One lady that came with us on the moors on a beautiful day said watching the hawks flying and diving was the best experience of her life – better even than childbirth!” said Tori.

David first became interested in falconry some 20 years ago when he came across a man who had lost his Harris hawk.

When he came across it a few fields away, the man was so grateful that he readily agreed to take David out for a day flying the bird.

Tori, who is up at 4am every day to milk and milk record quickly developed her love of the birds when she met David, who is a herdsman.

“They all have their own characteristics,” she said. “We are trying to let people experience them in as natural way as possible.”

The couple are also offering a pest control service to anyone with a problem with birds – including football stadiums, town centres and airports.

The sight of a hawk flying around scares other birds away.

Anyone interested in a hawk walk or pest control should contact 07815-756386 or email enquiries@northsidefalconry.co.uk.