The Falconry and Wildlife team at Leeds Castle are delighted to announce the arrival of baby Harris Hawk 'Gallo', a feathery new addition to the Castle's Bird of Prey Centre, born as part of a successful Bird of Prey breeding programme to dad 'Keye' and mum 'Texas'.
Keye and Texas are two of the longest serving members of the Leeds Castle Falconry team who share a special bond. During their careers, both have been integral to the Castle's Bird of Prey Centre, regularly seen flying in the visitor Falconry displays and meeting guests on private experience days.
Now 21 years old, new dad Keye, has been cared for by the Castle's Head Falconer Hannah James since he was only three months old. Keye was matched with Texas, the female Harris Hawk ten years his junior. The pair have a close bond, having flown together in the Castle's displays for many years.
The birds were retired together in 2018 and the expert Castle Falconry team knew they were the perfectly matched pair to introduce the Castle's new Bird of Prey breeding programme. Three years on, the programme has seen other species introduced and now celebrates the birth of the Castle's first ever baby Harris Hawk named Gallo by Hannah.
Head Falconer Hannah James said:
"We retired my beloved Keye and Texas together in an environment where we hoped they would be comfortable enough to breed. Myself and the team are over the moon with the happy arrival of Gallo and I hope to one day be able to fly him as I have his dad!
After three years of waiting and hoping, we were beginning to think the programme was unsuccessful but then on 21st April 2021 we had the surprise of our lives when there was movement in the nest. Texas had got up to feed revealing a tiny little ball of fluff! There it was trying to sit up in the nest, no control over his little head, wobbling around trying to see what's going on. We are delighted and can't wait to introduce little Gallo to visitors later this year".
The Castle's resident birds of prey can be found relaxing on their perches at the Bird of Prey Centre, open daily and included in the price of admission to Leeds Castle.
All charitable income raised from admission tickets goes back into the running and preservation of Leeds Castle and its estate and the continued support of visitors has never been more vital for the survival of this magnificent heritage attraction.
Please visit www.leeds-castle.com to pre-book your tickets and check current opening times and prices. Leeds Castle is located near Maidstone in Kent just off Junction 8 of the M20 and only one hour's drive from London.