Thursday, June 2, 2011

Basic Falconry #5: Equipment

Another important aspect of falconry is the equipment. First is a hood, hoods were mentioned in previous paragraphs, they are leather blind folds for the bird. Hoods are difficult to make because each birds head differs depending of its sex, and age. Next is the glove, gloves are the easiest equipment but one of the most imperative tool. The glove is again made of leather and rises to a little passed the elbow, serious falconers will have theirs tailored for them specifically. Gloves are used to protect the arm of the falconers from the sharp talons of the raptor. It also provided a secure perch for your hawk, it is not a legal requirement to own one, but more common sense. Next is the Aylmeri Jesses, they have two parts, the leather bracelet which wraps around the hawks leg and has a long leather strap attached to keep the bird from flying. The leather straps are called the jesses and are kept in the falconer’s hand until the bird is about to be flown. The bracelet is not snug against the bird’s foot but it is not permitted to slip through. Perches are also another requirement, there are many different types of perch and some are better suited to different birds. Perches include: a bow-perch, a block perch. Each are fairly easy to make. Another item needed is a leash; a leash can be leather, nylon rope, or bungee cord. Leashes are used when a bird is sitting on a home-made perch. They are often tied to the perch itself. Finally another thing is a lure. Lure are extremely important, because they are the tool that teaches hawks what animal they should be hunting. It is also where the hawk will eventually learn to go to get their tidbit. The lures are especially helpful when training falcons to hunt other smaller birds. There are countless other equipment required for a falconer including: swivels, bells, record book, mews, bath pan, hawking bag, a giant hood, and scales but the majority of fairly self-explanatory. The equipment is all necessary but the amount of work the falconer puts in out-weighs how nice his/her stuff is. Falconers must be extremely careful when monitoring a birds weight. Birds such as the Kestrel can die in a instant if their weight is not perfectly maintained. Their weight must be checked almost every five hours within the first two weeks. Birds are also extremely susceptible to disease. If the mews are not cleaned they can get bumble foot, this is several infections on the hawk’s feet, Or Sour Crop where the food in the stomach starts to decompose instead of being digested. The birds are all in danger of getting these, so it is the falconer’s duty to ensure the hawks health.

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