Archive for the ‘Student’ Category

Facts Falconers Should Know

August 12th, 2009


In studying for the (out-dated) Federal Falconry Exam, I found several practice tests, study guides, and additional online quizzes.  Included below is an additional questionnaire that I found to be quite useful for knowing more about falconry in general.  Granted, not all of these items are on the test, but if you want to really know your stuff, and be prepared for those Field Meets, this is a good place to start.

While it’s great to study and read good information out of books, the most invaluable information comes from talking with other falconers.  Field meets and picnics are great ways to get to know folks and their levels of expertice and experience. Reading online discussion forums can also provide valuable insight into troubleshooting and solving issues.  Some of the discussion threads with multiple replies can provide a wide range of opinions and information about a subject.

Happy Falconry Research!

1. How long it takes for some common raptors to acquire full adult plumage.

2. Falconer’s terminology (Ex.: hacking, carrying, eyasses, in yarak, frounce, and mute).

3. The distinguishing features of “look alike” species (Cooper’s hawk and sharp-shinned hawks, Merlin and Kestrel).

4. Be able to distinguish the sexes of common birds of prey.

5. Be able to identify the calls of some species.

6. The distinguishing characteristics of falcons.

7. The wintering range of some of our country’s common raptors.

8. Raptors which are associated with water habitat.

9. Those species which are most likely to be seen in large numbers during migration.

10. The northern limits of the breeding range of some of our common raptors.

11. The preferred perching sites of some of our birds of prey.

12. Hunting characteristics of some of our common raptors, the nesting characteristics, breeding age, number of eggs produced, preferred nest sites, which species will accept man-made bird houses.

13. State and federal falconry regulations.

14. Names of falconry equipment and the preferred kinds of equipment. .

15. Words used by falconers.

16. Raptor care, diseases, and weathering.

17. Daily food requirements under various conditions.

18. Construction of mews and perches.

19. Within limitations of the permit, what factors associated with birds of prey does a falconer consider when planning to acquire a raptor from the wild.

20. What tradition does a conscientious falconer consider when taking eyasses from a nest?

21. What care does a falconer give to a passage red-tailed hawk immediately after capture?

22. Does the fact that a raptor does not bathe daily mean anything?

23. What care must be given to talons and beaks of captive raptors?

24. Do strong winds coupled with zero (°F) temperature have any affect on raptors. How? Which raptor(s) cannot withstand winter weather conditions which are characterized by long periods of below zero (°F)  temperatures. How about direct sun and hot weather?

25. The weather and its effects on raptors.

26. The facts about molting.

27. Should drugs be used to stimulate molt? Support answer with reason(s).

28. Training raptors. What are the steps and stages?  How do you know when your raptor is ready for the next lesson.

29. The best way for a beginner falconer to judge condition of his/her raptor.

30. Is digestive tract blocking in captive raptors a serious factor? Support your answer.

31. What can a falconer do to locate a lost raptor?

32. How does one treat a bent raptor feather, a raptor with a sprained wing, a raptor which loses its talon through accident, a broken leg, a raptor with tapeworms and other internal parasites?

33. How to identify external parasites on raptors. What treatments are recommended?

34. What characteristic(s) indicates that a raptor may be sick?

35. What relationship is there between raptors and pesticides?

36. What are the characteristics of a respected falconer?

37. Why is Arthur C. Bent important to falconers? Beebe and Webster?

38. Falconers should be familiar with the life histories of the birds of prey, especially the following: Harris hawk, Swainson’s hawk, Red-shouldered hawk, Kestrels, Red-tailed hawk, Prairie falcon, Peregrine falcon, Rough-legged hawk, Osprey, Golden eagle, Bald eagle, Sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper’s hawk, Harrier (Marsh hawk), Merlin.

39. Falconers should be acquainted with three or four books on falconry. Know the authors.

Facts Falconers Should Know

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The Falconry Exam

March 23rd, 2009

The first step on the road to becoming a falconer is the falconry exam.  The federal government, office of fisheries and wildlife has established an exam for people to take to test their knowledge of falconry and raptors. The taking and passing of the falconry exam is also a key indicator of success and interest to yourself and to others. This is a 100-question test that focuses on several aspects of the sport of falconry:

  • Raptor Biology
  • Field Identification
  • Hunting Regulations
  • Federal Permit Regulations
  • Raptor Diseases (and how to treat them)

Taking this exam and preparing for it properly opens your eyes as to how much about raptors and falconry you DON’T know.  There truly is quite a bit to knowing how to properly train, house, and care for a Wild Raptor and this test is one of the first ‘toll-gates’  in the sport of falconry. It’s an indicator to you about how much is truly involved in this sport, and it’s an indicator to others (i.e. potential sponsors) as to your knowledge and committment level.



Here are a few resources that I found extremely helpful when studying:


Good Luck!

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Going Hunting with a Falconer / Hawker

February 26th, 2009
Falconer ‘Lee’ with his Harris, ‘Jet’

Going Hunting with a Falconer / Hawker

The point of most falconry clubs and the field meets is to put the sport of falconry on display in a positive light.  There are some folks out there who have a misconception about what falonry is and it is one of the main purposes of the club to educate other folks in the traditions and purpose of falconry. At these meets, the falconry club members are more than happy to take folks out on hunts and show them what falconry is all about.  If you should go out with a falconer for the first time, there are a few situations that you should be prepared for.  Hopefully, these ideas will help you get ready for a great hunting adventure!

Prepare for the Hunt

First thing to do is get yourself ready for the hunting excursion.  Bring a sturdy walking stick to beat brush with. Rabbits will sit tight unless you have a dog, or are breaking down their house with a stick.  Wear warm clothing. Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the hunt, in it’s entirety.   Waterproof boots are a good idea, as you never know where your hunt is going to take you. Brush pants are also a must for the briar thickets you will inevitably encounter. If you have chaps, they are also great for walking through tough, thick areas but they can be heavy and warm.  Being warm may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the weather, so use your own judgement there. If you happen to have a sling-shot, bring it along in case of encountering a stubborn squirrel stuck up in a tree.

In the Field

Now, as for the etiquette required, you should first be prepared to keep up with the falconer.  Always stay on the opposite side of the glove when the falconer has the bird on his fist.  Make sure you are not standing between the falconer and the bird when the falconer calls her down.  Ask the falconer what they prefer you to do when the hawk catches game.  If you are close, the safety of the bird is paramount to a successful kill, so be prepared to help out if the falconer requests you to do so. Otherwise it’s safe to stay 10-20 yards back of the hawk so as not to crowd him when on the kill. Help watch the hawk when he flies from tree to tree. If you hear bells from the launch off the branch and the falconer does not turn around, tell him which way she went and watch where she goes.

Ask Questions

Falconers are usually more than willing to answer questions and explain things to folks, but make sure to ask about what’s expected of you before you get out in the field so that there is no mis-understanding.  Ask lots of questions afterward, not in the middle of the hunt, as it may get distracting  to the falconer.

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