On Sunday 29 March, Winton House, with its twisted chimneys and intricate ceilings, hosts its annual Spring Open Day (12.30 – 4.30pm). Visitors can go on guided tours of this fifteenth century castle with its Scottish renaissance embellishments, enjoy the swathes of daffodils in the gardens, try out the 12 miles of Winton Walks, and taste the homemade fare at Café Winton. This year’s special attractions are falconry displays by Raptor World.
Raptor World, with its base in the Scottish Deer Centre at Cupar in Fife, regularly does falconry displays at Winton House for corporate hospitality guests and has worked at many prestigious venues such as Blair Atholl and Scone Palace, sometimes entertaining audiences of up to 8,000 people.
At the Winton Open Day there will be falconry displays at 1.30pm and 3.30pm each lasting about half an hour, to show off the different birds of prey and their special characteristics. Visitors will also be able to see the birds at static displays throughout the afternoon.
Stewart Miller and his colleagues from Raptor World, who looks after 60 birds of prey and has been working in falconry for at least 25 years, plans to bring to Winton a tawny owl, two harris hawks, a saker falcon, a kestrel, an Indian eagle owl and a golden eagle.
Stewart Miller says:
“Our demonstrations are entertaining but also educational and cover how the birds live in the wild. There’ll be some close encounters – the audience will have a chance to handle the birds and help with the demonstrations.
“I’ll provide running commentaries on each bird. The owls with their acute hearing and big, beautiful eyes will demonstrate their silent flight. Harris Hawks are very agile and will zip in and out of the crowd. Saker Falcons will stoop and dive to catch prey in the air. The sandy coloured, Eagle Owl is one of the largest owls in the world and will be admired for its large orange eyes and remarkable beauty. The rare Golden Eagle needs little introduction!”
Stewart has a background in birds of prey conservation and research, including running programmes in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Germany and Siberia for tracking, captive breeding, population studies and projects to reverse species declines. Stewart also runs a charity for the conservation and rehabilitation of birds of prey.
Birds of prey like to eat rats, mice, quail, rabbit and pheasant. For something more appetising, head down to Café Winton for homemade soup, sandwiches and cakes after the display.
The Events team can be contacted on 01875 340222 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org