Big Changes in the Bird Garden

Harewood House in Yorkshire has a rare bird garden

Throughout winter, our Keepers have been busy landscaping every enclosure and aviary so they are tailored to the individual species that reside there. Twice a year, our team use several tons of sand, gravel and woodchip as well as hundreds of metres of turf to create ideal habitats. The perches are replaced, nest boxes are cleaned out and indoor areas painted.

Outside the aviaries, all the Bird Garden footpaths, aviary walls, fences, benches and signs have been jet-washed and the fences, aviaries and sheds have been protected with over 100 litres of paint by staff and volunteers.

When we reopen in April, the most noticeable changes will be seen in the landscaping that has taken place. The original Bird Garden planting scheme was designed in 1969; many conifer hedges and juniper bushes were planted to cover fences and provide wind shelter for the birds. These had become overgrown, blocking light to the aviaries and surrounding areas. There is now a light, airy feel, with enclosures such as the African Grassland being reclaimed from the dense planting.

Importantly, wonderful lakeside views, which had almost disappeared, can now be enjoyed. You will be able to stand alongside the Flamingos and gaze across the Lake at the surrounding landscapes and enjoy native wildlife as originally intended.

To encourage our native species, we are introducing brand new, bird feeding stations inside the Bird Garden to add to the existing popular lakeside feeders which have seen Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and several species of Tits and Finches as regular visitors.

The new Bird Garden feeders, are designed to encourage lakeside species such as Cormorants, Herons, Little and Crested Grebes, Kingfishers as well as seasonal birds such as Goosanders and Golden Eyes. Permanent residents including Mute Swans, Large and Small Glebe and Dippers will also benefit from the improvements. The new feeding areas will include perches, dedicated bird and drinking facilities with bird bathes with a view down to the Flamingos from a seating area.

Incubation and Rearing Rooms Ready for Coming Year

The incubation and rearing rooms, which are housed away from the busy public areas, have been given a spring clean and the equipment checked ready for the breeding season. The incubators and brooder boxes have been switched on, and are now ready to be used when needed. Watch this space for news!

Winter Holidays

Even with the mild winter weather, some of our less hardy birds have been brought into heated indoor accommodation. Some of the Finches, our Maroon-Bellied Conures and “Freddy” the White Fronted Amazon, are some of the birds enjoying their winter holidays indoors. Located next to the Keepers’ offices, it can get quite loud with the chattering and calling from these often noisy guests. Several of the birds are good mimics, and have a repertoire of phrases and calls they often repeat.

Harewood House in Yorkshire is home to a pair of snowy owls

One of a pair of snowy owls at Harewood

For some of the hardier birds, the team have collected oak leaves and pine tree needles to landscape enclosures. The foliage is spread out on the aviary floors to create a soft surface for the Snowy Owls, Tragopan Pheasant and Chilean Flamingos. Tannin from the leaves also helps to protect the skin on the bird’s feet over winter.

Conservation and Protection of Rare Birds

Many of Harewood’s rare and endangered species are part of managed breeding programmes. It’s an important role, which ensures that populations close to extinction in the wild are sustained, whilst maintaining genetic diversity.

Harewood House in Yorkshire has a Red Legged seriemaAs part of this ongoing conservation work, we’ve collaborated with Paignton Zoo. They have sent a young male to pair up with our single, Red-Legged Seriema female, “Ethel”. Ethel’s new boyfriend has passed quarantine tests and has been given a clean bill of health. He will be introduced to Ethel before we open in April. As he’s settled in, he’s started to grow a long mane of feathers, typical for a male Seriema, and can now be heard calling out from his aviary searching for a mate.

The Bird Garden at Harewood House has penguins you can visit

The nearest relative of the Humbolt Penguin are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin.

The Humboldt Penguins are starting to claim nest burrows that are not already occupied, with some couples trying out several nests before they decide. One of our older pairs, Otto and Mr Otto had previously separated (the equivalent of a penguin divorce!), have now paired back up.  As their romance blossoms, they are getting ready for the breeding season by guarding their house from other would be squatters.

We have also rehomed a young female penguin to another breeding zoo. She is settling down and has paired up already which is great news to hear.

The chance of feeding the Humboldt penguins with the Keepers, on a one to one basis, is the best way to get close to these inquisitive birds for a personalised close up experience.

Entries now open for the annual Countryside Clay Shoot

Organisations, businesses and individuals are being encouraged to enter teams for the 2015 Countryside Clay Shoot, organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the CLA Game Fair.

The annual charity clay shoot, which is being held on Six Mile Bottom estate in Cambridgeshire on Saturday 23 May 2015, will raise money for the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust (GWT) and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

Teams of four will compete across six stands with a mix of simulated game targets. Entry costs £600 per team, which is £150 per person and will include hospitality.CLA Game Fair has clay pigeon shooting

The winning team will receive the Hugh van Cutsem Challenge Cup, dedicated to the memory of the keen shot and countryman, which will be presented by Emilie van Cutsem.

Steve Bloomfield, BASC England director, said: “This popular annual event is a way for everyone who shoots to support the two charities and raise funds. I would urge you to enter a team at the earliest opportunity.”

Tony Wall, Director of the CLA Game Fair, added: “We are thrilled to be hosting this esteemed event alongside BASC for very worthwhile causes. Having had a whole game shooting season to get your eye in, the competition should be fierce.”

Twenty five teams took part in the 2014 event, which was won by the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and included teams from BASC, the CLA, the Countryside Alliance, The Angling Trust and the National Farmers’ Union.

Places are limited so advance booking is essential.

To book a place please contact BASC Central on 01283 810910 or

Improved communications for visitors and exhibitors at the CLA Game Fair

Harewood House from the North

Visitors and exhibitors at this year’s CLA Game Fair, to be held at Harewood House in Yorkshire from Friday 31 July until Sunday 2 August, will benefit from enhanced communications technology meaning they can use mobile phones, tablet computers and payment terminals more effectively.

Mobile communications coverage and services will be enhanced thanks to a £130,000 investment in technology, which will fund 12 free Wi-Fi hotspots located around the show site. The funding for the high-speed connectivity has been provided by the CLA as well as sponsorship from interested exhibitors.

In addition, the CLA Game Fair and its technology partner 123 Hire are installing a broadcast network dedicated exclusively to the transmission and processing of credit and debit card transactions. The “123VIP” network, which will supported by six broadcast masts providing coverage of the whole showground, will enable exhibitors to benefit from a congestion-free payment system.Visit Harewood House to see Horse Trails at the CLA Gamefair

Tony Wall, Director of the CLA Game Fair, commented: “We are aware of the problems visitors have experienced with mobile network coverage at countryside events and this investment will create one of the UK’s best ever show experiences for smart phone and tablet users. It will not only mean they can stay in touch with family and friends during the event but that they can make use of social media and enjoy an enhanced CLA Game Fair experience.”

Robert Sears, CLA Game Fair Exhibitor Liaison Officer, added: “Mobile network congestion has meant past frustration for exhibitors using card payment machines but the new 123VIP private network will ensure they can process card payments quickly and efficiently. We are encouraging all exhibitors to make use of this service to ensure they get the very best out of this year’s CLA Game Fair.”

For more details, visit

CLA Game Fair

Harewood House Half Marathon

Harewood House Half Marathon unites 1000 in the fight for every heartbeat.

More than 1000 laced up their trainers this weekend for the BHF’s inaugural Harewood House Half Marathon in a united front against coronary heart disease, the UK’s single biggest killer.Half Marathon at Harewood In Yorkshire

The British Heart Foundation Harewood House Half Marathon which started and finished in the in front of the stately home saw runners cover 13.1 miles through the Harewood estate to raise urgently needed funds for the nation’s heart charity.

BHF Event Organiser Helen Wright said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part, everyone who supported our runners and all of our volunteers particularly the local Raynet group. Coronary heart disease is not beaten yet – it remains the single biggest killer in the UK and it’s because of your support, that we are able to continue our fight to find a cure.”Races at Harewood House with British Heart Foundation

The BHF hopes to raise £70,000 from the Harewood House Half Marathon to help fund essential research which could create a better future for so many – from babies born with heart defects, to the millions of adults affected by heart disease.  Coronary heart disease is responsible for almost 80,000 deaths each year; that’s over 200 people dying every single day.

Join the fight today and register for a BHF event today. The next local British Heart Foundation event taking place is the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge on Saturday 11th July from Horton in Ribblesdale. Registration is now open


Deer at Harewood

Harewood has been home to a deer park since the medieval era with three types of deer spread over 4,000 acres of land. There are approximately 155 Red, 45 Fallow and 45 Roe with the number fluctuating when the calves are born around June.

Deer at Harewood in February credit Harewood Estate

Deer Park credit Anthony Hicks and Harewood Estate (3)

The Red deer is one of the largest deer species and, although they were once rare in parts of Europe, they were never closetoextinction. Successful reintroduction and conservation efforts, particularly within the UK, have resulted in an increase of Red deer populations. This species have varying colouration depending on the season and habitat in which they live, with grey or lighter colouration in winter and more reddish and darker coat colouration in the summer.




Native to Western Eurasia, the Fallow deer can be identified by its chestnut coat with white mottles in summer or by a much darker, unspotted coat in the winter. Fallow deer are widespread on the UK mainland and are present in most of England and Wales.


Roe deer


The Roe deer is relatively small with reddish and grey-brown colouring, and well adapted to cold environments. The roe deer is renowned for being very quick and graceful with very short antlers. The world-famous deer Bambi was based on a Roe deer but was changed to a White-Tailed deer upon its feature film adaptation.


Male deer cast antlers each year, usually in April, with the oldest deer’s casting their antlers first. Deer are herbivores meaning they eat fruits, acorns and nuts as well as grass and evergreen plants in the autumn and winter.

You can currently purchase venison from Home Park.