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News, little truths and wisdom regarding Pest Bird & Animal Wildlife Control, Falconry, and Birds of Prey....


 

Falconry is the age old sport of kings; practiced since the time of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, some 5000 years ago. Contrary to popular belief, Falconry is still a huge part of many cultures around the world. In fact, in Doha, Qatar there is a Falcon Hospital that caters to over 140 falcons every day.

Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital provides a wide variety of aesthetic and medical care ranging from notched beak trimming to the treatment of more serious diseases and infections that can impede the health of many birds of prey. They even help falcons who have broken feathers by attaching a feather from a previous moult through a process called imping. This method is very important for birds used in falconry, as damage to a critical flight feather could seriously affect the way a falcon flies and hunts.

The treatment of birds of prey is a specialty trade, and not all veterinarians are familiar with proper methods for the care of raptors (birds of prey). In places like Doha, where the popularity of falconry is so high, there are many trained professionals who know the ins and outs of raptor biology and illness. In places like Ontario, however it can be quite difficult to find a veterinarian trained in raptor biology. Raptors can develop an infection or illness very quickly, and death can result very quickly as well, so locating a trained professional is a must before ever obtaining a bird of prey.

There are also many specialty items needed to fly and maintain a bird of prey including hand crafted leather hoods, gloves, anklets, jesses, leashes, and more. Raptors perceive day and night only by the absence or presence of light; this is why hoods are used in Falconry. A hood fits loosely around the raptors head leaving an opening for the beak. With a hood on, a raptor does not have any visual distractions during transportation, therefore is far more likely to sit still. Gloves are used to carry a raptor on one’s hand. Birds of prey can have very sharp talons that could grasp onto your hand as if you were prey. This is why gloves are essential in Falconry, especially with larger birds such as Golden Eagles. The length of a glove will also vary depending on the size of bird you intend to carry. Anklets are permanently affixed to the Tarsi (legs) of trained birds of prey. Jesses are then attached to the anklets, which are then attached to a leash. Jesses are used to ensure that the raptor’s feet have the ability to move freely and comfortably while still being secured to their leash. When a bird is flying free or in its mews (housing) they are able to fly with the absence of a leash, although anklets and jesses stay affixed indefinitely. In Souq Waqif, there is a market that caters solely to the needs of over 3,000 falconers and provides all of these items in various sizes to accommodate the vast size differences of raptors.

At Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control, we house and provide rehabilitation for various birds of prey including hawks, falcons, eagles, and even owls. We also provide animal wrangling, which allows for the use of our trained birds for commercials, television, movies, and even special events.

If birds of prey and the sport of falconry is something that interests you, come visit us in Acton for a true falconry experience. You will be able to meet, handle, and learn about our birds as well as witness their spectacular aerial pursuits first hand.