Posts Tagged ‘required’

Bow Perch

June 19th, 2009


Bow Perch


As a falconer / hawker, you are going to want to take your raptor along with you when you go camping, trips up to the cabin, or if you are just out and about in the yard. A hawk needs a proper perch on which to sit, relax, and feel comfortable. The bow perch is a great way to make your raptor comfortable.


This indoor / outdoor perch was made by a good friend of mine who welded together a few metal scraps. It is quite heavy and I do not expect a raptor to be able to move the platform when she bates. A large metal welded ring is attached to the perch arm.



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Raptor Water Requirements

June 19th, 2009


Raptor Water Requirements


Under Section ‘B’ of the Required Ancillary Equipment, item number one requires a bath container, 2-6 inches deep and wider than the length of the raptor. While looking for some gardening supplies at the local Farm and Garden store,  I ran across some feeding bowls for horses.  One of them, looked perfect for a raptor’s needs and met the requirements as described by the DNR.

While in a mews, a raptor has the potential for wing and/feather damage from contact with objects with sharp corners, such as a water pan. The pan/bowl also needs to be shallow enough to hold a good 3-4 inches of water for the raptor to properly bathe in. This is part of good hygiene for the raptor. Even though you may not regularly witness the bird in the bath, be assured that she is using it. Bathing leaves a raptor vulnerable in the water, which is why they do it so secretively.

This is a fairly large bowl (17 inches across) and is 4 1/2 inches deep. The bowl is made of thick, sturdy rubber, so that if the raptor stands on the edges of the bowl, it will not tip over, even if empty. I’ll be able to put about 3 inches of water in the bowl so that the raptor has plenty of water for it’s thirst and bathing needs. Of course, it goes without saying to regularly change the water during the summer months and not to put too much in the winter, due to the freezing of the bowl. But hey, this bowl will be able to stretch and flex due to the rubber construction, so the bowl will experience less wear and tear due to the freezing of the water during the winter months.

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Giant Hood

April 14th, 2009

Giant Hood Completed



This week I completed my giant hood or ‘hawk box’.  This is another do-it yourself type project that is easy to do if you are at all inclined to woodworking or making things with your hands.  The hawk box serves as a transport / carrier for your raptor while in the vehicle from location to location.  It’s also a good temporary resting place when cleaning out the mews, or when the weather outside is frightfully chilly.

While the giant hood is not a required piece of equipment, others would argue that it is essential to keeping your raptor safe, under control, and protected while travelling. There are many variations on the hawk box, from using PVC and plastic panels, to coroplast. I chose a pattern to make my giant hood out of 1/4″ louon with some additional accessories.  The main thing to making your box easy to tote around is to make it light enough to carry your raptor without overburdening you. A box that is too big, or too weighty will make travels difficult.




I used a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/4″ louon, 12 feet of 1/2″ quarter-round moulding construction on the inside to secure the edges, and 12 feet of 1/2″ corner moulding on the outside to hide the seams and about 75 wood screws.  With the sides and door securely attached to the moulding, I then cut the outside corner moulding to fit the dimensions of the box.  Once all the glue had dried, I drilled 2″ holes in each of the sides of the box for venting.  A few soffet vents filled the holes and completed the ventalation.  I attached some hardware handles, and made sure to reinforce the anchors with 5/8″ plywood inside the box.  The handle on the top is for carrying, and while the side handles can also be used for two-handed carrying, the real use is for tie-downs in the car when placed in the back.  I can secure the box with some bungee cords or straps and these handles will provide that support.  The corners of the wood block anchors were routed for a smooth, round finish.


Additional Details


On the left side of the box, just outside the door, I placed an additional handle for clipping the leash to the box, securing the raptor in case of a hasty exit.  A small hole between the door and the door catch allows the leash to latch to the outside catch. Inside, I mounted a perch on a 1″ dowel, and used a slot so that I could remove it for cleaning.  The dowel is covered in foam pipe insulation for a soft perching base.  A 16″ x 5″ peice of astroturf is sewn together at the seam to create a uniform look on the perch.


The inside was painted with a dark color to keep the bird calm during travel.   I ran out of black paint, so I used an emerald green that I like.  The outside of the box is covered in one coat of marine varnish, to prevent fading by exposure to sunlight.  The marine varnish is some of the best coating for protecting wood from exposure to the elements.  It’s important to give the box 4 weeks or more of airation and drying time before putting a raptor in your box.  You want to make sure that any of the chemicals have long since evaporated before using full time.


I hunted around for a suitable door latch that was decorative, yet functional.  If you go into a marine store, they have really nice brass and stainless hinges and all sorts of door clasps, however, you’ll pay a premium price for these riggings.  Since I didn’t need brass or stainless (even though they really looked nice), I settled for some inexpensive, yet functional small brass door hinges and a turn-catch.


More Pictures:

Giant Hood

Pictures that show the completed hawk box, or giant hood.


Additional Ideas and Suggestions:

  • To provide additional aeration and venting, a small CPU fan could be put in place of one of the soffet vents to forcefully move air through the box. Wire up some batteries in a small, detachable box and instant air for your raptor.  * Warning: Hawk boxes should never be set out into direct sunlight while holding a raptor.
  • Install some clips to the inside to hold your newspaper or muting material for a quick change when it’s time for a cleaning.
  • Leave one of the soffet vents on the bottom-rear of the box un-glued.  That way, you can remove easily and wash out the chunky stuff (ewwww….).
  • Pound in some furniture-savers (sliders or posts) into the bottom four corners of the hawk box to avoid scraping the wood when sliding around or moving from place to place. Depending upon your storage or travel needs, you may want these posts to be ‘grippy’ instead, that way, your box *won’t* slide when you are driving around.

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Raptor Scale

April 13th, 2009

Do-it Yourself Raptor Scale


An accurate digital scale is one of the most important pieces of equipment for the falconer. It’s even more important when you consider that the scale is a required item for the DNR inspection.  While several on-line scales designed for avian measurement, or even raptor wieghing can run you upwards of $175 or more.  This seemed like an easy do-it yourself, and with the added bonus of saving $$$ money, I was able to do some additional enhancements.

Scale Materials


This is not a very heavily involved project.  You need a digital postal scale that can handle up to five pounds.  Most of the smaller versions are adapted for this very purpose and will be able to handle most falconer’s weight needs. If you have a larger raptor, say for example like an Eagle Owl, or a Golden Eagle, then perhaps you should be looking for something more suitable.  This Pelouze scale pictured here was about $35.00 at Staples.   I also had some PVC Pipe that  I cut into three, 4 inch lenghts, for each of the arms and the stem in the “T” part of the perch.  A few additional PVC components, the “T”, end caps, and a few screw connectors made it easy to construct. The base was a 1/2 inch metal pipe base that the connector screwed into in order to securely hold the T-Perch in place.  I used some black spray paint on the perch base, and on the PVC in order to give it a uniform look.


Padding and Astroturf


To cover and pad the perch, I used some foam insulation for 1/2 inch pipe, and cut out a little for the stem part of the perch. With a proper measurement of the astroturf, I sewed the seam together with some #50 dacron string and it seemed to be durable and hold everything together.  I glued the base of the perch to the scale with some epoxy. When it was all dry, I attached the perch to the scale, and was all set. 

This close-up shows the completed project.

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Leash Hardware Selection

April 2nd, 2009

Leash Hardware Selection


One of the federal requirements for keeping a hawk is having the proper equipment present during an inspection.  Further than that, the leash and clips are a fundamental tool for handling, aid in keeping your hawk under control, and prevents the hawk from hurting himself. You don’t want to loose control of your hawk, or worse, have her escape.

With that said, it’s important to have a sturdy, trusted leash system set up and ready to go as one of your essential tools.  Falconers do not believe in occasional equipment failure for a leash.  There is zero room for error here, so it’s important to select the proper hardware.

Sampo Swivel, #5-8

This is a must-have piece of equipment for any falconer and no substitute should be accepted.  Use the large #8 size for red-tails, ferrugs, and eagles.  Choose a smaller size to match your perigrine, praire, or saker falcons.   Some folks think that the #8 swivel, which is rated to 500 lbs. strength, is a little overkill for a 3-4 lb. bird.  In a world where equipment failure is unacceptable, there is no such thing as overkill.  Therefore, a #8 is the most popular for apprentices who choose a red-tail for their first bird.  In order to prolong the life of your Sampo, make sure to connect the leash end to the ‘neck’ side of the swivel and the jesses to the ‘barrel’ side.  That way, dirt doesn’t enter into the ball-bearing part of the swivel and wear out the ball-bearings with the dirt grinding away at the mechanics.


There are four main types of clips that most falconers use:

  • French Clip
  • Snap Shackle
  • Carabiner
  • Trigger clip

There are positives and negatives to using each type.  The ultimate decision is up to the falconer on what type to use, under what circumstances to use, and which type is most comfortable. There is always the debate on the falconer’s knot, but I’ll get to that later.

French Clip

Easy quick-release and very sturdy.  May be easily connected with one hand for quick release situations.  Great for car hawking and field-release situations.  Not recommended for long-term tethering solutions or footy birds.  Some hawks have been known to accidentally undo the clip from the jesses by stepping on the clip, thus releasing the pressure. Another side note here is that the French Clip often comes with it’s own swivel. It’s not quite as finely crafted as the Sampo Swivel, so what I did was I took off the attached swivel mechanism on the French Clip and replaced it with a Sampo.  Of course, in order to be able to do this, I needed to remove the solid ring from the barrel side of the Sampo and replace it with a split ring.  This setup works really well.

Trigger Clasp

I was unable to find many pros or cons about this little gem.  Honestly, I haven’t found any cons for using this piece of hardware yet. The trigger clasp is usually found next to dog leashes or the key-ring supplies, it allows for quick release with the ease of one hand.  I like to use these on the glove-end of the leash, for easy connection to gloves, belts, and the handle on the Giant Hood.

Snap Shackle

This is a specialist item that comes from a marine supply store.  You can find them on the most popular falconry vendor sites, but they are much cheaper in the marine supply store.  Highly durable, easy to undo and snap together with one hand.



There are multiple sizes and shapes of carabiners, but the best, and most effective ones come with the screw-gate to dissallow any accidental openings.  There are several sizes, shapes, and colors for carabiners and they have multiple handy uses.  I would suggest keeping several handy in your falconry kit for hanging things off your vest, connecting leashes to gloves, securing lures for trade-off, and binding things together.  Always handy to have around.




In the picture above, I’ve numbered the hardware to demonstrate various sizes and shapes. The grid below the picture is has a scale of one inch.

  1. #8 Sampo Swivel
  2. Trigger Clasp
  3. Snap Shackle
  4. Small Screw Biner
  5. Chain Link Screw Biner
  6. Carabiner (metal link)
  7. #6 Sampo Swivel Clip
  8. #2 Swivel Clip
  9. French Clip
  10. Various Size Carabiners
  11. Screw-Gate Carabiner




There are a wide variety of different hardware that can be used to tether your hawk from your glove, to the leash, and then to the jesses.  With the wide range of uses, purposes, and strengths, I’m sure that all the configurations would work to some extent.  I think the bottom line on selecting the proper setup for you is to choose the one that you are most comfortable using for your falconry needs.


Once you have selected your hardware, you can view the tutorial “How-to” for making a leash for your raptor.

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