I was lucky enough to meet Pringle the Tawny Owl from Leeds Castle’s falconry on my visit to this year’s Excursions, the annual group travel exhibition held at London’s Alexandra Palace. Found in England, Scotland and Wales, Tawny Owls are responsible for the characteristic courtship ‘twit-twooo’, which is actually a duet between male and females.
Pringle can be found in the castle’s falconry department, which contains a Bird of Prey Centre housing 22 birds of 16 different species, from the small North American Burrowing Owl to the large Russian Steppe Eagle. Everyday – weather permitting – the birds are on public display on the weathering-ground and in their aviaries.
Free flying demonstrations take place in the arena every afternoon from April to September and on weekends from October to March. Lasting up to 40 minutes, the event offers visitors the chance to see hawks, vultures, falcons and owls in action.
Meet the Falconer and Meet the Owls sessions also take place at the centre each month and, this February, one hour Hawk Walk sessions will launch too, allowing guests to learn the rich history of hawking on a walk through the upper parkland accompanied by a member of the falconry team.