The Raptor Centre was founded by Eddie Hare in 1977 at Chilham Castle near Canterbury in the middle of Kent. In 2002, Eddie was joined by his wife; Veronica. For the last 20 years we have been based at Groombridge Place.
November 2018 saw the relocation of The Raptor Centre to Hobbledown; a mystical park and zoo in Surrey.
Our Mission Statement
We want to inspire the minds of young and old alike, encourage them to explore the fascinating and often misunderstood world that is Birds of Prey.
We want you to give us the opportunity to teach you about their way of life in both captivity and wild situations, we will give you the chance to get up close and personal and discover this incredible subject through our regular Flying Demonstrations and Handling and Flying Experiences.
We have done, and will continue to do our best to help and protect all Birds of Prey. This includes taking in wild sick and injured Raptors, bringing them back up to full health and releasing them back into the wild, our Breed and Release Programs, and working our Birds close in Flying Demonstrations in an attempt to get rid of fear, and replace it with understanding and care, because without care, there isn't a creature on the planet that can survive.
Eddie had been flying birds for a few years before he founded The Centre in 1977.
The concept of The Raptor Centre was born after Eddie hand reared a wild Little Owl, after the felling of an Apple Tree close to where he lived, left the breeding pair of Little Owls without a home, 3 of the siblings dead, and the surviving one without parents.
He says that he doesn't really have a favourite bird, but he always refers to Helga, his Bald Eagle as his little girl...
Picture is of Eddie and Helga the Bald Eagle
Veronica's first bird was a male European Kestrel - for the record we don't recommend small birds such as Kestrels for non experienced people, however Veronica was under the constant supervision of Eddie.
The bird was just over 6 weeks old, and although young, he was fully grown, and Veronica spent all her time with Gollum, and he turned into an incredible little Falcon. Given good weather conditions, Gollum would often remain airborne for up to 20 minutes during his exercise period.
Veronica enjoys flying her birds both in demonstrations and privately.
Picture is of Veronica and Maleficent the African Fish Eagle.
Click on the button below to see a selection of pictures of some of our birds, both past and present.