We visited the Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi, somewhat near the airport and reachable by taxi. They provide two tour packages that can be reserved online; a 2 hour tour and a 3 hour tour with lunch. FlyerTalkers appear to advise sticking with the 2 hour tour.
As far as I could tell, the first 2 hours are the same; then lunch is served aaand….? Not sure what extra they get to see! What did we see? First is an introduction on the center and education on the types of falcons they serve there. It’s a lot of information but the guide was pretty practiced and funny. After the information in the introduction room, it’s off to the back room where the birds brought in as day patients.
It’s really cool to see all the birds up close, they are pretty awesome guys. Or gals, rather – most are females, as they are the larger of the sexes. The types of falcons there are Peregrine (fastest), Saker (national symbol of Emirates) and Gyr (largest and most expensive). They show you the birds and show some of the basic health checks and maintenance they do, such as sharpening their talons.
They show a feeding (of defrosted quail) as well, and give each attendee a chance to hold one of the falcons for some pictures.
The tour also walks by the surgery center as well as a couple intensive care units. It continues outside to some aviary facilities to show where birds are staying and checked up on for longer periods, such as during their molting period.
It was interesting learning about the falcons and seeing them up close and how they are taken care of. The average falcon here is worth in the tens of thousands of dollars, the Gyr ones can exceed 100k – so these are some very valuable birds! I definitely recommend the tour if in town. It’s currently 170 AED for adults and 60 AED for kids 5-9, under 5 are free for the two hour tour.