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Time to tour: Falcon Hospital


Abu Dhabi Week treated David and Marie Gladstone to a day at the Falcon Hospital. But what did they make of it?

Was it easy to get there?

Marie: Yes, it was easy to find as it was well sign-posted. It took an hour in a taxi from downtown.

Do you have to take a tour, or can you wander at leisure?

David: You have to take a tour. There were about 35 people on ours. When we arrived, we were led into a room where we stood in front of 20 breeds of falcons. They were all lined up, tied to poles with artificial grass on them.

Did you see any falcon operations?

Marie: We watched a vet give a falcon gas to knock it out so he could give it a pedicure! He held it firmly while he cut its claws then used a fine electric nail file to trim them.


What else did you do?

Marie: After the pedicure, the guide picked a woman on the tour to feed a falcon with a small dead bird. The guide said they’re fed once a day because if they get fat they can’t fly. We split into two groups after that and were led into a second room past two operating theatres. The guide said the hospital treats falcon pets as well as wild falcons. Later on, we were led into a large circular room that was decorated like a tent. We stood at the edge and watched as a handful of falcons flew freely around, one at a time. The guide said they were in there because they were moulting. As they flew over our heads we ducked.

David: At the end of the tour we had time to stroll around the garden in front of the hospital, which was attractive. Its lawns were about half the size of a football pitch and it had flowers,   a fountain, palm trees and stone statues of falcons.


What was the highlight of the day?

David: The highlight was holding a falcon. I put a thick leather glove on my arm and it sat on that. It must have been hungry because it pecked me on the arm. I got to stroke its stomach. There were a handful of four-year-old French kids on our tour and they took turns holding a smaller falcon on their arms. They were quite confident about it; they loved it.

Were there plenty of food and drink outlets?

David: No. There isn’t a café or restaurant so eat before you go or take snacks with you.

What were the toilet facilities like?

Marie: The toilets were very clean.

How long did you spend there?

David: The tour lasted two hours, which was about the right length.

Do you have anything else to add?

Marie: If you’re going by taxi, book one in advance for the way back so it’s waiting for you when you’ve finished the tour.

Would you go back?

Marie: No. It was interesting as a one off, but it’s not worth a second visit.

AED 60 kids aged five-nine, AED 170 adults. Sun-Thu 10am-noon or 2pm-4pm. All tours must be pre-booked.  Sweihan Road, near Abu Dhabi International Airport. Contact: 02 575 5155 [email protected] www.falconhospital.com

Sarah Riches


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