About Falconry

What is Falconry?

Falconry is defined as “taking wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of trained birds of prey” (iaf.org) and dates back as far as 2000 BC, however some historians believe it was much earlier.  Birds of prey are excellent hunters as they have incredible eye sight and very sharp claws, or talons. Birds of Prey can hunt prey that fly in the air, or small mammals on the ground. Some hunt during the day, while others, such as owls, hunt at night.  Birds of prey can can be very fast, reaching speeds of up to 60mph in a dive, while others can quickly manoeuver through dense forests and thick brush.

Raptors/Birds of Prey Include:

Falcons:

Peregrine Falcon

Family: Falconidae
Small to medium-size birds with long pointed wings making them particularly swift flyers. Falcons take over the old nests of other birds instead of building their own, and will occasionally lay their eggs on cliff ledges or in the hollows of trees.  Includes; Peregrine and Gyr Falcons and American Kestral.

Hawks:

Red tailed Hawk

Accipiters - Medium sized hawks that are ambush-type hunters, swopping down from a concealed perch to catch their prey. They have excellent eyesight and long tails for steering in tight areas. Includes; Goshawks, Coopers and Sharp-Shinned Hawks.

Buteos  - Larger Hawks with wide wings for soaring in the sky looking for prey in large open areas. They are also referred to as Buzzards. Includes; Red-tailed, Red-Shouldered and Broad-winged Hawks.

Owls:

Great Horned Owl

Owls are generally specialized for low light and nighttime hunting. They have specialized feathers to reduce air turbulence over their wings, allowing them hunt with total silence. Owls have great eyesight and incredible hearing.  Includes; Great Horned, Barn and Eurasian Hawk Owl.

Eagles:

Bald Eagle

The largest birds of prey with long and wide wings and massive talons for grabbing prey. Booted Eagles have legs and feet covered with feathers. Includes; Golden and Bald Eagles.

 

Birds of prey are trained by learning to associate the falconer with food. Raptors are very food motivated and when it learns that the falconer is its only source of food, it can be trained with the food as the reward. If a brid of prey catches prey, the falconer has to remove the prey immediately and replace it with a food reward for a job well done. If the raptor gets to eat what it catches, it will no longer be willing to fly for the falconer. The falconer has to be the only source of food for the bird. Birds of prey can be easily released back into the wild to become "wild" again after being trained by a falconer.

 

How Hawkeye Uses Falconry:

Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control uses Falconry as natural and humane way to control behavioural patterns of pest birds such as gulls (seagulls), pigeons, geese, sparrows and starlings.  Falconry takes advantage of the natural relationship between predators and their prey. Raptors are trained to scare and chase pest birds from an area, and the pest birds quickly learn that that area is not safe for them. Falconry provides faster and longer-lasting bird control when compared with other 'scare' methods such as electronic noise makers, shooting or trapping. Falconry is truly natures ways for bird control.