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Meet the winner of the 2023 Marion Paviour Award

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Congratulations to Ivan Oruka – the winner of our 2023 Marion Paviour Award!

Ivan is currently studying at Gulu University, Uganda, undertaking a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management.

Ivan is currently undertaking a project that is leading the way for research on Critically Endangered Rüppell’s Vultures. His work is focused in the Luku Central Forest Reserve, where he is studying the only known breeding colony of these important birds in the entire country of Uganda.

This project is the first of its kind in the country – trailblazing the way forward for future conservation efforts to conserve this species of vulture. Ivan is currently gathering data to determine the size of the breeding population within this area, identify what seems to influence which cliff ledges the vultures use to nest on, and finally, what their breeding success rate is and what could influence their success.

Our Marion Paviour Award grant has supported Ivan with this research. These funds have allowed him to cover costs associated with travel to the reserve, some of the equipment he is using to carry out his research, and local costs to cover permits for access to protected forest sites.

On winning the award, Ivan commented:

“To receive this award from you, joy and happiness are an understatement. This award is a timely fuel to my work and just like my birds of interest, my research activities are definitely going to soar. Because I am studying the last members of the species, this award is a dawn of hope to them. In fact, I dedicate it to my birds. All together for community transformation to save the plight of vultures.”

Since receiving the award, Ivan has collected four months of data, and is beginning to interpret what the research can tell us about these precious birds. He has also observed new chicks at the nest sites over the winter months – fantastic news!

Keep your eyes peeled as we continue to share updates from Ivan’s work conserving these Critically Endangered vultures.

Join our 100 Club

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Calling all Members…

…did you know you can join our exclusive Hawk Conservancy Trust 100 Club?

By joining our 100 Club, you’ll be in with the opportunity to support the Trust’s vital work AND have the chance to win prizes!

We award 39 prizes to our paid up 100 Club members every year, awarding £100, £50 and £25 on thirteen occasions annually. That’s £2275 in prize money given out every year!

As a member of the 100 Club, you will also have the opportunity to join us for our special 100 Club Members’ night held at the Trust during the summer. This special evening is organised by the team at the Trust as a thank you for the extra support provided by the 100 Club members. It’s a lovely, intimate evening of bird flight and uplifting commentary from the Bird Team, and we look forward to seeing our members there every year.

If you are a member of the Hawk Conservancy Trust and would like to know more about the 100 Club, you can find more on our website here – there’s more information about how we have supported the Trust over the years, as well as details on how to get involved.

If you are already a 100 Club member, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you! Don’t forget, you can always signup for additional shares to further your support and increase your chances of winning in our monthly prize draws.

Pauline Rafferty, Hawk Conservancy Trust 100 Club Treasurer. 

All about Alex McGarry

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Alex McGarry is a professional artist specialising in oil paintings of British wildlife and birds. She is the winner of the prestigious title ‘Up & Coming Artist of the Year’ awarded by the Fine Art Trade Guild. She is represented by the UK’s largest distributor of original paintings and limited edition prints – De Montfort Fine Art. And as such her paintings can be found in galleries across the UK and on board luxury cruise ships such as the Queen Mary II.

Alex has a busy year ahead, where there’ll be lots of opportunities for you to meet Alex, view her artwork and perhaps even purchase a special memento of our birds. Fifty percent of painting sales and one hundred percent of print sales goes towards supporting our work!

On your visit

As part of our partnership, an exclusive collection of Alex’s paintings are on permanent display in the Trust shop. Each piece is absolutely stunning, and can be purchased on the day of your visit for an extraordinary memento of our birds.

Throughout the year, Alex will be joining us at the Trust to paint new pieces of our birds. Whilst having a chance to watch her paint in real-time, you’ll be able to get to know her, and ask her any questions you may have about her work. Alex will be here on various Sundays throughout the year – keep an eye on our social media pages for announcements of dates and times.

If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a stunning original artwork, you can enter our new Artist in Residence raffle! Alex is kindly donating her time to create a stunning portrait of our iconic Egyptian Vulture, Boe, which will be given to one lucky winner at the end of the year! Find out more soon on our social media channels and via our Owl Message e-newsletter.

 

Chris and Megan’s Night of Nature

Are you joining us at our biggest fundraising event of the year – a Night of Nature with Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin? Alex will be!

On this special evening, enter our raffle and be in with a chance to win an incredible memento of this event. Alex will be creating a live-painting of the evening as it unfolds. There’ll be a chance to meet Alex, view her current work created for the Trust, and see this one-of-a-kind painting come to life over the course of the evening. This unique painting will then be raffled off at the end of the night to one lucky winner! Book your tickets here.

 

Family exhibition in Andover town centre

On Saturday 18 May, join Alex McGarry at her Andover town centre studio for her annual Family Exhibition! There’ll be a special exhibition where five artists, all from Alex’s family, come together in one space to feature their incredible artwork. Find out more details on Alex’s website – we’ll be offering anyone who goes along a free Meet the Burrower’s VIP Encounter when they pre-book their ticket to come visit the Hawk Conservancy Trust. Directions to Alex’s studio can be found on her website.

 

Anniversary event

Join us for an evening of drinks and canapés to celebrate the anniversary of our partnership with Alex McGarry on Thursday 5 December! Come along and meet Alex for yourself on this free to attend evening. You’ll be able to see our beautiful birds captured by Alex in her art, including the display of paintings that will be on permanent display in the Trust shop over the next year. Mark your calendars – more details coming soon.

 

Christmas Market

What better Christmas gift for a Hawk Conservancy Trust fan than a painting of their favourite bird to take home? Alex will be joining us at our Christmas Market this year, running Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 November. As well as painting during the evening, she’ll be displaying her exclusive range of paintings and prints created for the Trust and selling them too!

 

A special day with our feathered friends

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A wedding is as special as the couple getting married and we, at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, will ensure that your wedding is one of a kind. Set within 22 acres of woodland and wildflower grounds and in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, the Trust has a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for entertainment, your ceremony and photographs. Enjoy your special day surrounded by friends and family, be entertained with our three world-class flying displays and come face-to-face with a special feathered friend. Make your first photographs as a married couple memorable by inviting the wonderful Great Grey Owl, the powerful Bald Eagle or the awesome Hooded Vulture to celebrate with you in a personal VIP encounter and capture this special moment on your wedding day.

You and all your guests will have access to the Trust grounds, allowing them to be inspired by our awesome birds of prey and be captivated by our world-class flying displays. As a registered wedding venue, you can have your ceremony almost anywhere within our grounds. We have a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces that each have their own characteristics and features, making each special and different in their own way.

 

The Eyrie

The Eyrie is a peaceful, airy space in the centre of the grounds that has large French doors connecting to the Savannah Lookout balcony that oversees our stunning Savannah Arena. The balcony is a perfect place to enjoy drinks, socialise with guests, and enjoy our inspiring morning display from an amazing vantage point.

The Griffon Rooms

The Griffon Rooms is designed for celebrations and located in the heart of the grounds besides a large, grassed area which can be reserved for you and your guests to enjoy. The Griffon Rooms can be easily arranged for a wedding buffet, sit-down meal or a sociable BBQ or hog roast, making this a truly versatile yet intimate venue.

Feathers Restaurant

Evening receptions can be held in our Feathers Restaurant; A bright and comfortable venue featuring a part-glass ceiling and wooden beams and pillars, making it versatile to your personal wedding theme. The vast floorspace can cater for a dancefloor and live entertainment or a social environment for a seated meal. A bar is included within the room hire for Feathers Restaurant and is fully stocked with a wide range of wine, beer, lager and spirits.

Outdoor Spaces

Be surrounded by stunning natura  l environments that each have a different theme and feel. Stroll through the hundreds of wildflowers in Reg’s Wildflower Meadow, enjoy the atmosphere of the Savannah Arena and feel the enchantment of the Woodland Arena; all of which make beautiful backdrops for your photographs.

 

Take that step closer to saying ‘I do’ at the Hawk Conservancy Trust and enquire for our wedding brochure here to share your special day with a special feathered friend!

A wedding at the Trust contributes to our mission – the conservation of birds of prey and their habitats. Whilst you enjoy our beautiful location, dedicated staff, awesome birds and excellent facilities, you’ll also be helping to support our conservation, rehabilitation, research and education projects for birds of prey in the UK and overseas.

 

 

Attending IAATE with James

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In September, we hosted the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) UK symposium – the first of its kind! Gary Benton, Tom Morath and James Knight represented the Hawk Conservancy Trust at this event, giving talks about how we work alongside our incredible birds in flying displays and events. We also invited symposium attendees to the Trust for the day to get an insight into life at the Trust! Hear from James Knight all about his experience.

It has been a busy couple of weeks here at the Hawk Conservancy Trust! With the buzz of the summer holidays coming to an end, it has been lovely to welcome many of our long-term members during this time as the days get shorter and nights darker.  We’ve been busy watching our three incredible vulture chicks grow and develop, making sure they have everything they need, with their fantastic parents doing such an amazing job of looking after them!

In addition to our usual activities, there has been an extra bit of excitement going on behind the scenes that has just come to an end. The Trust teamed up with the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) to host the first ever UK symposium!

Until this event, IAATE conferences had mostly been held in the United States and mainland Europe so it was an incredible privilege to be involved with setting up this event.

The event itself saw world experts all convening here, in the south of England, for a three-day event. Speakers from all fields of avian care were invited to speak about their areas of specialism, including trainers working alongside birds for education and demonstrations and other bird conservation charities. Topics ranged from day-to-day avian care to field researchers explaining natural behaviour and how we as keepers and trainers can create the best conditions to allow our birds to demonstrate them.  Three members of the Trust team presented a selection of topics from training specific, natural behaviours (such as soaring with Boe the Egyptian Vulture), considerations for working with our owls after dark, as well as working with our birds to take part in their own health checks and show off natural behaviours.

On the third day, the format moved away from presentations and the Trust welcomed these fellow professionals to our grounds to showcase what we do and take a deep dive into our conservation projects and demonstrate the high level of care we give to our birds.  We also held a few extra workshops during the day, showcasing how we care for our cheeky Burrowing Owls, highlighting how we manage some of our groups of birds, as well as a workshop about flying falcons with some of our resident professionals Cedric Robert and Mike Riley, sharing tips from their years of experience.

It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to talk about our work and have an open conversation with so many like-minded individuals about how we can face challenges in new ways and work together in the future.

It was an amazing event that we were all thrilled to be such a big part of. We’ll will be counting down the days till the next one!

 

The makings of Masters of the Sky

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Have you been along to see our brand new flying display this year? Masters of the Sky is our biggest daily flying display yet! Who better to talk to you all about it than the man who came up with the concept and led the Bird Team (and birds) to creating this incredible spectacle of birds in flight – our Deputy Head of Living Collection, Tom Morath?

‘At the Hawk Conservancy Trust, we have a mission – to conserve birds of prey. That’s it. It’s that simple. But as simple as it sounds, there’s an awful lot of conserving to be done and almost all of it requires absolute dedication from people with specialised knowledge. We need as many people on board with supporting our mission as possible. It’s up to us to inspire others, with what we’ve learned, to help conserve birds of prey. Sometimes that knowledge is hard to digest – it’s facts and figures, it’s graphs, numbers and statistics that, without sitting down and really concentrating, can be hard going – especially if the conclusions are not good news.

‘The research findings and scientific papers that are produced by members of our conservation and research team, along with our colleagues working in similar fields, are invaluable. They help us to map out our future plans and prioritize our resources. They ensure that our conservation work is evidence-based, but they’re not always an easy read. The issues many species are facing are complex and varied and it’s easy to be turned off from a topic when its hard to digest and understand. It is part of our mission, then, to take that science and make it accessible to everyone. Understandable is good but inspiring, exciting and fun is better. Much, much better.

‘Any visitor to the Hawk Conservancy Trust cannot fail to have been thrilled, and perhaps even moved, by the aerial prowess of the fascinating birds we care for. Through our flying displays, we’re able to give our visitors the opportunity to be in amongst the feeding frenzy of kites during an African bushfire, eye to eye with a Secretary Bird as he dispatches a snake or even a vole’s-eye view of a hunting Barn Owl. These are the moments that live on in memory long after our doors close for the day. These are the moments which, we hope, will instil a lasting impression and serve as a reminder for how wonderful birds of prey are and how hard we need to work to support them.

‘In early 2022 we took the decision to begin working on a brand new display. For many years, the Valley of the Eagles had taken the top spot as the most thrilling flying display of our timetable – often including the grand finale of a pair of Bald Eagles soaring over the valley and into Reg’s Wildflower Meadow to a crescendo of music and a rapturous round of applause from the audience. The Valley of the Eagles had been running for many years – I can remember watching the display myself when I visited for the first time in 2007. But as we adapt to combat the seemingly ever-growing threat of Avian Influenza and the risk it poses to our living collection, there were elements of the Valley of the Eagles (including the title spectacle of eagles flying across the valley) that we could no longer safely continue with. Additionally, we knew that there were improvements we could make, elements we could make more inspiring to a wide range of audiences – from the experts to casual holiday-makers. The natural histories of birds we could better represent in a brand new show. From Easter of this year (2023), the Masters of the Sky would take the Valley of the Eagles 2pm slot in our summer timetable and much of the challenge of putting the display together, fell to me – how exciting!

‘From the very beginning we knew that we wanted to maintain that spectacle of seeing some of our largest, fastest and biggest groups of birds taking to the wing. Reg’s Wildflower Meadow is such a stunning backdrop and an enormous space that begs to be filled with the flights of our majestic birds of prey. But beyond the spectacle, it is essential that there are some key take away messages about each of the species we introduce.

‘Which birds had a story as yet untold in our displays and which would benefit most from having their moment in the limelight – both on an individual and species-level? I worked with Gary Benton (our Head of Living Collection) to decide who would take starring roles. The flight of the Bald Eagle over Reg’s Wildflower Meadow is so glorious we couldn’t imagine a 2pm display without it –  and so Sam, one of the adult male Bald Eagles at the Trust, would take to the wing in the show, using the two brand-new 8m towers as launch pads onto soaring above the wildflowers. New-comers were to include Flo, a funky Crested Caracara among others. Caracara’s are smart birds that can adapt to many different habitats. They like a challenge and, with Flo, we chose to show something we’ve never show before by focusing on two elements of their wild lives.  Firstly, their foraging behaviour which is largely on-foot. Secondly, something totally unique to this species of Caracara and any of their close relatives – nest building.

‘If you’ve ever seen any of the 10 species of Caracara in action (either in-person or in videos) you might be struck by how different they are. They don’t seem to fit neatly into the family groups as other birds do. They’re not eagles, or hawks, they’re certainly not owls. They’re not vultures either although they are often found scavenging alongside them. So where do they fit in that tree of life? It might surprise you to know that they’re most closely related to the falcons – those high-velocity flyers, well known to be the fastest of all living things. Neither the other species of caracara nor the falcons they link closest to are nest builders – most take over old and abandoned corvid nests or make a scrape on cliff edges – but the Crested Caracara does build nests. Working with Katy Barnes, a Head of Section and member of the Bird Team, we worked together to demonstrate this behaviour. It is important that birds in our care are offered stimulating activities that emulate similar challenges they would face in the wild.  Ordinarily, nest building would be seen in the breeding season, stimulated by a subtle change in hormones at the right time of year. We worked with Flo to simulate nest building behaviour by encouraging her each time she brought something back to the artificial nest (built by Katy). To Flo, this was a enriching experience which earned her big food rewards – win win! This quirky demonstration of behaviour highlights something about the species that might get missed – and Flo’s routine is still in development as Katy has more challenges for her.

‘We begin at 2pm each day with a few moments of pure exhilaration by placing our audience right in the centre of a high-speed aerial pursuit as either Nutmeg or Chaucer (Lanner Falcons) speed towards two lures – one in front of the audience, the other behind. These lures, each swung with skill and precision by members of our Bird Team, represent the moving prey the species chooses to chase in the wild (usually other birds). The falcon powers high above the crowd before folding back their wings into a stoop. In this moment the audience are given the same perspective as the prey as the falcon hurtles towards them. Within two minutes it’s all over as the avian sprinter regains their breath and tucks into a well-deserved meal. Whilst savouring the thrill of watching such an impressive species in action, it’s important to note that these birds are not without threats in the wild. We now know that the Lanner Falcon is a species threatened by climate change as it impacts the weather and, by extension, the success of this falcon’s breeding season. Without this moment in the display – who would hear of the Lanner Falcon under the shadow of their more famous cousin, the Peregrine Falcon, and know about their less-than-favourable status in the wild?

‘The finale to the show focuses on the most threatened group of birds in the world – the vultures. Our work with Egyptian Vultures in Asia is highlighted by the spectacular Boe, who’s been flying at the Trust since 2016. Daily, almost without fail, Boe heads out into the valley or over the trees in order to search for natural lift which invariably assists her to great heights – often hundreds and occasionally thousands of feet in the sky! From her birds eye view, she watches as multiple species join her on the wing – White-backed Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Hooded Vulture, Black Kite and White Stork are all represented in this final part of the show as we display more birds than we’ve ever included in our shows before. Our finale is a spectacle of around 20 birds all together in one sky.

‘If you haven’t get managed to get along to see the Masters of the Sky yet I hope that I might have persuaded you to do so soon. Our displays are the closest we can get to transporting our visitors to the habitats of the birds to see them flying in the wild and I think we get pretty close! My hope is that by offering such an opportunity we can inspire all who visit to support us in our mission to save some of the world’s most impressive birds of prey from the various threats they face. A mission that is becoming ever more essential and is our privilege to undertake.’

Towers built with funding from the Loddon and Test LEADER Programme and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

 

 

Owl Awareness Day 2023

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Friday 4 August 2023 is International Owl Awareness Day, and here at the Hawk Conservancy Trust we think owls are a hoot! Everyday we celebrate the wonderful world of owls – come along and find out more our work with these mystical creatures, how you can experience the magic of owls for yourself, and what we’re doing to help conserve them.

Woodland Owls Display

If you’ve ever wanted to get close to owls, our Woodland Owls display is your chance! Witness an array of beautiful owls skim silently over your head and discover more about these beautiful creatures in this intimate demonstration. See our owls display their unique hunting and flying skills as they glide around the Silver Birch trees in our peaceful Woodland Arena, landing closer than you might expect! This enchanting display features a variety of owl species, including the Barn Owl, Great Grey Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Tawny Owl, and more!

Book your next visit to see this immersive display.

Raptor Nest Box Programme

Here at the Trust we care about the conservation of native owls. So much so that we have an on-going project called the Raptor Nest Box Project, which aims to maximise the population potential of four UK bird species, three of which being lovely owls (Barn Owl, Little Owl and Tawny Owl)!

Since the mid-20th century, Kestrel and owl habitats continue to be limited due to human disturbance, resulting in a decline in populations. By building nest boxes for these species, it gives these birds a fighting chance to improve their numbers and, in turn, also allows us to monitor and record them.

Find out more about our conservation actions here.

 

Owl Experiences

Our Owl Experiences give all owl lovers the memorable opportunity to get close to and fly some of our fascinating owls. On this special experience, our Bird Team will share fascinating insights into some of the amazing owl species we have at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, and the work we do to help conserve them.

Your session will include meeting and flying a range of owl species, from some of smallest to the largest. The exact species you meet and fly on your experience session will vary but may include a Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl or eagle-owls. There may also be the opportunity to work with young birds in training.

We also offer a Children’s Owl Experience, where 6-11 year olds can join in the fun! This fun-packed session involves learning how to identify British owls by sight and from their calls, dissecting a wild owl pellet to try and identify what the owl has eaten, and the chance to hold and fly several species owl from Britain and around the world.

Owl Events

Seeing our birds fly in the evening and at night-time is a truly magical experience. Our owls often feature in these events, taking to the wing against a sunset sky and skimming over heads under the cover of darkness. Our popular Evening Owls events give you a glimpse into the world of owls as they show off their flying skills under a moonlit sky. Our spook-tacular Halloween event, Owl-O-Ween, combines ghostly story-telling with our owls flying for a ghoulishly good display!

As the festive season arrives and the Trust grounds transform into a winter wonderland, you can see our owls flying with Christmas cheer at our Evening Owls at Christmas event. Not your average carolling concert, our Christmas Carols and Owls event will enchant you with a live choir and band performing carols as our owls weave through the woodland around you. Father Christmas, Evergreen the mischievous Elf, and their team of magical owls will also be making a stop at the Trust to give all the good boys and girls their presents during Father Christmas’ Flying Visit.

Our owls will also be making a return to welcome in the new year at Winter Woodland Lights in January 2024 – more news on this to come!

Book your tickets now to come and celebrate International Owl Awareness Day by seeing our wonderful array of owls on Friday 4 August! 

Children facing difficulties given ‘DreamNight’ at the Hawk Conservancy Trust

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This week, our annual DreamNight event returned to provide a special evening for local children who face more challenges than most.

The return of the Trust’s ‘DreamNight’ event, following a hiatus during the Covid 19 pandemic, welcomed over 200 children along with their families and carers from local hospices, youth charities, and children’s support groups.  They all came along to enjoy an exclusive evening of inspiration and entertainment featuring a fantastic flying display with a chance to see the our birds fly exhilaratingly close. It was great to hear the Trust come alive with excited cheers from the children as the birds flew over their heads!

Alongside the flying display, the children enjoyed other activities including tractor rides, face painting, meeting the animals from Finkley Down Farm Park and pony rides with the team from Andover Riding for the Disabled Association.

A delicious barbeque was provided with help from Green Farm Events and Sumblers Brothers Butchers, as well as a delicious spread of cakes and sweet treats provided by Women’s Institutes. Local musicians and entertainers were also in attendance providing a magical atmosphere during the evening, with Jonathon the Jester bringing delight through jokes and cheer.

Penny Smout, Hawk Conservancy Trust CEO, explained that the Trust has been excited to bring back this special night for local children. She said: “DreamNight is such an enjoyable evening, for both the guests and our team here at the Trust. It was magical to welcome the children and watching the smiles on their faces throughout the event was a joyous sight to see once again. We are delighted to have this special event back.”

Felicity Strawson-Etherington, who attended with her daughter Mabel said: “Thank you for a wonderful evening! Watching my daughter Mabel in awe of the birds swooping over her head was just brilliant. Thank you to all the team who were all so lovely and helpful.”

‘DreamNight at the Zoo’ is an event that started in the Netherlands in 1996 and has since become a global initiative. We have been running DreamNights over the last decade but was forced to pause the events during the COVID 19 pandemic.

While the Hawk Conservancy Trust funded this year’s event itself it has said a big thank you to those that have taken part and to all staff and volunteers who came to help.

It is an event that the Trust would like to continue next year and to enable this it is looking for funders who could help and is asking any companies or individuals to get in touch using contact details which can be found at its website www.hawk-conservancy.org

Photographs provided by Viv Broughton 

Celebrating Owl Awareness Day

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Thursday 4 August 2022 is International Owl Awareness Day, and here at the Hawk Conservancy Trust we think owls are a hoot! Everyday we celebrate the wonderful world of owls.

 

Woodland Owls Display

If you’ve ever wanted to get close to owls, our Woodland Owls display is your chance! Witness an array of beautiful owls skim silently over your head and discover more about these beautiful creatures in this intimate demonstration. See our owls display their unique hunting and flying skills as they glide around the Silver Birch trees in our peaceful Woodland Arena, landing closer than you might expect! This enchanting display features a variety of owl species, including the Barn Owl, Great Grey Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Tawny Owl, and more!

Book your next visit to see this immersive display.

Raptor Nest Box Programme

Here at the Trust we care about the conservation of native owls. So much so that we have an on-going project called the Raptor Nest Box Project, which aims to maximise the population potential of four UK bird species, three of which being lovely owls (Barn Owl, Little Owl and Tawny Owl)!

Since the mid-20th century, Kestrel and owl habitats continue to be limited due to human disturbance, resulting in a decline in populations. By building nest boxes for these species, it gives these birds a fighting chance to improve their numbers and, in turn, also allows us to monitor and record them.

Find out more about our conservation actions here.

 

Owl Experiences

Our Owl Experiences give all owl lovers the memorable opportunity to get close to and fly some of our fascinating owls. On this special experience, our Bird Team will share fascinating insights into some of the amazing owl species we have at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, and the work we do to help conserve them.

Your session will include meeting and flying a range of owl species, from some of smallest to the largest. The exact species you meet and fly on your experience session will vary but may include a Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl or eagle-owls. There may also be the opportunity to work with young birds in training.

We also offer a Children’s Owl Experience, where 6-11 year olds can join in the fun! This fun-packed session involves learning how to identify British owls by sight and from their calls, dissecting a wild owl pellet to try and identify what the owl has eaten, and the chance to hold and fly several species owl from Britain and around the world.

 

Owl Events

Seeing our birds fly in the evening and at night-time is a truly magical experience. Our owls often feature in these events, taking to the wing against a sunset sky and skimming over heads under the cover of darkness. Our popular Owls by Moonlight evenings give you a glimpse into the world of owls as they show off their flying skills under a moonlit sky. Our spook-tacular Halloween event, Owl-O-Ween, combines ghostly story-telling with our owls flying for a ghoulishly good display!

As the festive season arrives and the Trust grounds transform into a winter wonderland, you can see our owls flying with Christmas cheer at our Evening Owls at Christmas event. Not your average carolling concert, our Christmas Carols and Owls event will enchant you with a live choir and band performing carols as our owls weave through the woodland around you. Father Christmas, Evergreen the mischievous Elf, and their team of magical owls will also be making a stop at the Trust to give all the good boys and girls their presents during Father Christmas’ Flying Visit.

Our owls will also be making a return to welcome in the new year at Winter Woodland Light – tickets to go on sale soon!

 

National Bird of Prey Hospital™

During the spring and summer, there are often many Tawny Owls in our hospital. If you see a Tawny Owl that’s obviously injured, then please call us or bring it to us. However, if you see a chick on the ground, it may not necessarily be in need of assistance.

It’s quite common for young chicks to fledge before they’re able to fly well enough to return to the nest. This means that although one might be found on the ground underneath, in the majority of cases its parents will continue to care for it.

We recommend that if you do come across a Tawny Owl chick on the ground then either leave it where it is or, if it’s obviously in danger such as near a road or path, return it to the nest if you can see it or place it safely on a branch (or similar) nearby. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01264 773850 for advice.

 

Book your tickets now to come and celebrate International Owl Awareness Day by seeing our wonderful array of owls on Thursday August 4! 

Great news from Changa Manga!

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We’re thrilled to share the news of three healthy Asian White-backed Vulture chicks, a Critically Endangered species, hatched at Changa Manga! This conservation breeding centre is run by our partners WWF-Pakistan, and is a key element of our Pakistan Vulture Restoration Project, which also includes a Vulture Safe Zone to protect wild vultures.

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