Paul re­alises his soar­ing am­bi­tion

The Oban Times - - Business -

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.

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