FALCONRY AT LEEDS CASTLE
Bird of Prey Centre
Leeds Castle's Bird of Prey Centre houses birds from a variety of different species, from our smallest American Kestrel to our largest, a Russian Steppe Eagle. Every day (weather permitting) the birds are on public display on the weathering ground and in their aviaries. Each bird has an information sign showing their name, species, age, origin and what they like to eat. The Bird of Prey Centre is located behind the Maze.
April to September: 10am to 5pm daily
October to March: 10am to 4pm daily
In adverse weather conditions some birds will not be on display.
Free flying demonstrations take place in the Falconry Arena in front of the Maze. The demonstration lasts 30 minutes and features a range of birds including Hawks, Vulture, Falcon and Owls.
April to September: 2pm daily
October to March: 2pm at weekends and school holidays
During the winter season some birds may not be able to fly due to weather constraints. In adverse weather the display may be shorter or cancelled.
Getting married at Leeds Castle? Create that extra special experience by booking a private Falconry display or surprise your guests with ring delivery by an Owl for a truly unique addition to your wedding ceremony in the 16th Century Maiden’s Tower.
Meet the Falconry Team
Mark Brattle, Head Falconer
Mark’s life-long fascination with birds of prey began at three years old followed by visits and experiences at falconry centres throughout the UK. The first decade of his career was spent learning the art of falconry from apprenticeship to Head Falconer positions at bird of prey centres across the country.
In February 2012 Mark joined Leeds Castle to set up and manage the Falconry Department sourcing birds, equipment and staff. Mark has established a talented and hardworking team of falconers who have great fun in looking after the birds of prey for the enjoyment of visitors to the Leeds Castle estate.
Hannah James, Falconer
Hannah’s passion for birds of prey started at 10 years old when a falconry centre visit triggered a fascination with the bond between the Falconer and his Bald Eagle. Hannah spent the next few years studying birds of prey before being bought her first bird Keye, a Harris Hawk who now resides at Leeds Castle, allowing her to train him, gain his trust and share new experiences.
Following work experience with Mark in Kent, Hannah ran her own bird of prey centre for five years where she helped rescue birds and taught people about Falconry. Hannah began working at Leeds Castle in March 2012.
Reece Napper, Assistant Falconer
Reece was intrigued by the contrast in the birds’ personalities when watching his first falconry demonstration at 14 years old. A year later he joined the Leeds Castle team on work experience which extended to a placement during weekends and school holidays gaining hands on experience with the birds. A further work placement led to a one year apprenticeship where Reece learnt how to run experience days and perform commentary for demonstrations.
Training one of the new birds, Austin the Harris Hawk, gave Reece vital experience in training a bird from scratch. Reece joined the team in a permanent role in July 2015.
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