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Rustington firm offers bird of prey for wedding day
A businessman is hoping his new matrimonial idea will take off in the new year.
Birds of prey owner Kevin Lochner and his partner Michelle Faull are looking to branch out and use their menagerie of owls, hawks and kestrels to bring airborne entertainment to someone’s special day.
The couple’s Rustington-based firm Hawking About, which currently carries out school visits, pest control and history days, is looking to provide wedding services from January.
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To get the new service off the ground, the firm are offering one lucky couple their services free of charge.
The firm will offer a bronze, silver and gold package which will all include time for the best man to get adjusted to handling the bird while the top package will include a 30-minute aerial display.
The Hawking About line-up includes five hawks, three owls, a kestrel and a falcon called Taz.
Mr Lochner said he was inspired to start his business three years ago when he took his first Harris Hawk up to the Lake District and was amazed at the positive response to the birds from a group of disabled people he met.
The firm also offers a bird control service at two schools in Angmering and Littlehampton by taking their birds on daily visits to the schools to scare away seagulls who swoop down on pupils’ lunches.
The 36-year-old, who also works nights as a security guard, said he was confident his birds would not be unnerved performing at a wedding and would not disappear up into the venue rafters.
He said: “My birds are used to flying around halls full of schoolchildren, 400 people at Arundel Castle and 20,000 people at Wiston House so they are used to being in the public arena.
“Getting the birds to fly back is all about getting their weight right so that they want to fly back for their titbit of food.
“One of my birds, Willow the barn owl, I know has a flying weight of 10.5oz but at 12oz she would be not so keen to fly back to me.
“We are going to do a couple of wedding fayres in January and the wedding companies we have spoken to are keen and say there aren’t many people who can offer this service in Sussex.”
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