Gleneagles Townhouse
Welcoming Our Newest

Harris Hawk Chick at Gleneagles

6 June 2024

Introducing Gleneagles' newest Harris Hawk chick - a journey into avian parenthood! Explore the fascinating world of Harris hawks as we welcome a new chick to our falconry school. Discover the intricacies of their breeding habits, parental care, and social structures, providing insights into these remarkable birds' lives.

Harris Hawks at the Glen

Harris hawks are truly captivating birds of prey, famous for their social skills and teamwork. Unlike most raptors, they love to hunt in family groups, showing off their impressive team spirit. At Gleneagles Falconry School, we’re proud to have 24 of these amazing hawks calling The Glorious Playground their home.

Breeding Story

This spring, experienced parents Jim Bob and Madison successfully had a baby chick. Jim Bob, born in 2010, and Madison, born in 2005, have a history of successful parenting. Madison is the mother to Eden and Boe and joined the Falconry School when she was young. Jim Bob has fathered Hendricks, Dumpling, and Clootie and was bred at the school. Their extensive parenting experience means they have taken to raising their new chick like birds to a feather!



Madison, our laid-back feathered friend is great with everyone, regardless of age or ability. Once a skilled hunter, she now prefers the easy life and snacks straight from the glove.

Then there’s Jim Bob, our energetic superstar. He’s an exceptional hunter, even catching pheasants mid-air—a rare feat for a male Harris hawk! When he’s bored on a slow hunt, he loves swooping over to snatch Steve’s (our instructor) hat. Quite the character, isn’t he?

Jim Bob

Chick Development

Upon hatching, Harris hawk chicks are covered in white down feathers and are completely dependent on their parents for food and protection. During the first few weeks, the female remains close to the nest, brooding the chicks to keep them warm, while the male hunts and brings back food. As the chicks grow, they begin to develop their juvenile plumage, and their down feathers are gradually replaced by their first set of feathers. Around six weeks of age, the young hawks start to fledge, testing their wings and practicing short flights near the nest. This is a critical period as they learn essential survival skills such as flying, often guided by their parents.

Social Structure

One of the most fascinating aspects of Harris hawk behaviour is their social structure. They live in groups called “casts,” which can consist of up to six individuals, usually including a dominant breeding pair and their offspring from previous years. The Harris hawk’s breeding habits and the early life of their chicks are marked by a high degree of parental care and social cooperation and the family group continues to support the fledglings for several months. The dominant female is the only one to mate, with other females helping to raise the young, forming a strong hunting pack. Packs can reach up to 16 birds. In the wild, males flush out prey for females and are allowed to feed from the kill as a reward for their teamwork.

Jim Bob

Growing up at Glen

Here’s what life will look like for our new chick at the Glen:

  • At around 14 weeks old, they’ll be fully grown and ready to start their training journey!
  • First, they’ll get used to being around humans and all sorts of vehicles—gardener buggies, lawnmowers, you name it.
  • Next, they’ll practice jumping to the fist, followed by longer flights, and eventually hunting training.
  • Once they master these skills, we’ll introduce them to guests and unfamiliar faces.
  • The young chick will be trained for demos, falconry lessons, and exciting hunting trips.

And of course, they’ll be soaring through the skies with their parent birds in no time!