About Falconry

What is Falconry?

Falconry is the hunting of wild prey in its natural state by use of a trained Bird of prey. The Bird of prey, or Raptor, as they are also referred to, is trained to hunt in cooperation of a human falconer.  All Birds of Prey possess excellent eye sight and extremely sharp claws. Depending on its species a Bird of Prey may hunt aerial game or small mammals, in daylight or at night. Many species are very fast and manoeuvrable, getting to speeds of up to 60mph when in a downward stoop.

 

Raptors/Birds of Prey Include:

Falcons:
Small to medium-size birds of prey with long pointed wings. Unlike most other raptors, they belong to the Falconidae, rather than the Accipitridae. Many are particularly swift flyers. Instead of building their own nests, falcons appropriate old nests of other birds, but sometimes they lay their eggs on cliff ledges or in tree hollows.

Hawks:
True Hawks are medium-sized birds of prey that usually belong to the genus Accipiter. They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails for tight steering.

Owls:
Greatly vary in size, typically night-specialized hunting birds. Owls fly with extremely little audible turbulence due to special feather structure and have particularly acute hearing.

Eagles:
Large birds with long, broad wings and massive feet. Booted Eagles have legs and feet feathered to the toes and build very large stick nests.

 

Birds of prey are trained to associate the falconer with food. A raptors behaviour is governed mostly by its appetite. By teaching a raptor to regard the falconer as its only source of food, the falconer can control the raptor and change its behaviour so it responds to stimuli the way it is trained. The raptor then receives food as its reward. The falconer must watch the raptor very closely. If it takes down prey the falconer must respond immediately to take the kill away from the raptor and give it a small reward for a job well done. It the raptor has the opportunity to eat the entire kill it will no longer be willing to fly. The raptor cant be motivated by food if it is no longer hungry. Also if the raptor gets most of its own food it will no longer associate the falconer as its food source and thus can no longer be controlled.

 

How Hawkeye Uses Falconry

Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control uses Falconry as an environmentally friendly way to control behavioural patterns of pest birds. These pest birds include but are not limited to; gulls (seagulls), pigeons, sparrow, starlings and geese.  Using birds of prey this way takes advantage of the natural relationship between them and their prey. The raptors are specially trained to scare and chase pest birds away from the area. Because the hunt pest birds as a food source, the pest birds learn very quickly to stay away from the area as it is a lethal danger to them. When dealing with large numbers of pest birds, raptors offer faster and longer lasting results than other methods of scaring pest birds away, i.e. electronic noise makers, pyrotechnics, or shooting them. The Art of Falconry is over 3,000 years old. It is one of natures ways of regulating wildlife populations.