Learn more about raptors

Bank holiday visitors can help us save barn owls and kestrels today during our fundraising raptor event.

Join bird keeper, Kriss Pearson in the 11th century castle courtyard throughout the day, when he’ll be raising funds and awareness about the plight of some of our native birds of prey – with the help of a few of our on-site raptors.

Visitors will not only be able to take part in fundraising competitions, including guess the name of the cuddly owl and guess the number of feathers in a jar, but they’ll also be able to meet some of our birds of prey up close, including harris hawks, a red-footed falcon, common buzzard and a Northern White-faced Owl, as well as learning about the ongoing decline of barn owls and kestrels.

Kriss, pictured above, said: “We want to make people aware how the upcoming winter months can have a dramatic impact on some of our native birds of prey, in particular barn owls and kestrels, as cold, wet weather prevents them from nesting and hunting.

“We hope to be able to purchase specialist bird boxes for our 40-acre site to provide safe and warm nesting areas and hopefully give them a helping hand and we hope visitors come and find out more about our wonderful raptors.”

Did you know…

  • Barn owls can’t fly in the rain due to having very little waterproofing.
  • The kestrel population has declined by 20 per cent in the last 10 years.
  • Both bird species are being poisoned by eating poisoned prey.
  • Both species have to compete for nesting sites.
  • Winter brings their main decline as their prey is less active and harder to find and catch.