Paul realises his soaring ambition
WITH support from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute, a former firefighter has turned his falconry hobby into a popular business.
Paul Finnigan, from Oban, set up Finn Falconry with his wife Lynn and zoologist daughter Jen, who share his passion for wildlife.
Paul offers close-up experiences of different types of birds of prey, providing flying displays at shows and fairs, talks and lectures, hands- on hawk walks, bird abatement and hunting experiences.
He has nine birds of prey – Sonic the merlin, Gale the kestrel, Khalifa the Barbary falcon, Saba the peregrine/ Lanner falcon, Zach, Elsa and Zephyr Harris hawks, Tak the Bengal eagle owl and Egor the golden/steppe eagle.
Paul said: ‘I’ve had a passion for falconry since I was 10 years of age and began learning how to handle birds of prey when I was 14.
‘Although I joined the fire service and served for 30 years, it was always at the back of my mind that I would love to one day set up my own falconry business.
‘We moved to Scotland in 2005 and that desire continued to grow. Once I had completed my service I knew starting Finn Falconry was the right thing to do.
‘Our business has wildlife education at its core as we want to show the power, grace and beauty of these awesome birds and teach people the importance of birds of prey, as apex predators, in maintaining healthy ecosystems.’
Paul has already secured spots at various Highland Games and is hoping for similar bookings this year. He is also looking eventually to run courses in falconry for those who want to learn the skills needed to take it up as a hobby.
He added: ‘I do want to grow and establish Finn Falconry as a place to go for tourists and people who live in the region.
‘It’s a great day out for those who want to learn more about birds of prey, as well as for those who want a good time doing something new.
‘Business Gateway has been a real source of advice and, in particular, when it came to issues such as public liability insurance and invoices.’
To find out more about how Business Gateway can help you, call 01546 808363 or visit www.bgateway. com/argyll-and-bute.
Paul Finnegan set up Finn Falconry after serving 30 years as a firefighter.