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Come and see the birds flying free against the spectacular backdrop of the Duncombe parkland. There are three demonstrations (two in the winter) each day, different birds are flown in each demo, so why not stay for the whole day and see them all? Accompanied by a fact-filled commentary, they will be the highlight of your visit.
At certain times of the year during the day you may see training sessions in between official flying times. You are welcome to watch, but try to keep still and quiet to help the young birds in training. If there is a special bird or species you want to see, phone to see when it might be on flying demonstration work.
Bring your camera! The demonstrations are also an excellent opportunity for photographers to snap the birds showing their natural agility.
In high winds we have a sheltered area of woodland for the flying demos – don’t worry on windy days we will come and find you to make sure you are in the right place. In wet weather we can fly some of the birds inside Christmas Tree Cottage. So whatever the weather, you will see birds flying.
Here all the flying birds live other than the owls and some others who work from aviaries. These species will change during the year as all the birds do about nine months work and then have a rest to moult. There are falcons, hawks, buzzards and eagles living here.
The Hawk Walk backs onto Christmas Tree Cottage, which is an old cottage that originally housed the engines and generators to provide electricity for a WW2 army camp. Our walk-in freezer is part of Christmas Tree Cottage. We have other plans for the rest of this building, watch this space!
The Hawk Walk is the place to get good photos of the trained birds as there is no wire and you will be within a few feet of them. There are lawns for the birds to sit out on and bathe if the weather is good and the compartments enclosing the area house the birds if the weather is poor and at night. These compartments are insulated and heated with locking doors and a good security system, although staff do live on site as well.
From the Hawk Walk you can head towards the main aviary area.
The design of our aviaries is unique to the ICBP and is the result of 46 years of development and evolution.
All our enclosures are fully roofed. Many of our birds come from warmer climes and all of them appreciate a dry place to live. There are 3 solid walls in each aviary; this gives the birds a feeling of security. Birds who feel safe and secure are happier birds and happier birds are more likely to breed. To date the ICBP has bred 66 species of birds of prey, a world record.
All the birds in the aviaries (apart from the trained owls) are part of breeding programmes.
We don’t go in the aviaries when the birds have eggs or young, the rest of the time the aviaries are cleaned once a week and given a “deep clean” twice a year.
Each aviary has a bath for the birds to use for bathing and drinking.
Take your time looking around the aviaries, the slower you walk the more you see!
THE FLYING GROUND
One of the main reasons for choosing Duncombe Park for the new ICBP was the presence of a truly amazing place to fly the birds. Our Flying Ground overlooks the rolling parkland in front of the main house. With veteran oak, chestnut, lime and ash trees on the east and north it is sheltered from the coldest winds. However the western aspect is open enabling the birds to take full advantage of the prevailing wind.
The Flying Ground is accessed either from the Hawk Walk or the aviary area. As well as seating for the demonstrations there are picnic tables and acres of grass to sit on during sunny weather.
Don’t forget your camera!ICBP Duncombe is most definitely a place not to be missed if visiting Helmsley, North Yorkshire or the surrounding areas.
There is an unsupervised play area next to the car parks