How to look after a bird of prey
Female Harris hawk
What to know when looking after a bird of prey
What you will need;
- An aviary
- Falconer's glove
- Creance (string attached to bird incase bird flys away)
- Perch (to improvise tree branch)
- Bird cam for bird safety
You want the aviary to be at least double the wingspan of your bird so the bird is comfortable and is able to fly in comfort. You will need the following;
Wood (planks or panels), the wood needs to be tough and strong so the birds won't peck their way through. If you are going to planks.
A wire mesh to cover the whole aviary, make the wire on the inside of the aviary so the wood is protected from the birds, also try to make the mesh 1cm x 1cm or smaller to drive away unwanted vermin, I would also recommend double wiring the aviary for extra protection for the bird.
The floor, I would recommend cement as it is easy to make and easy to clean up, if the bird excretes, all you have to do is wipe it up.
A natural wooden perch, you will want a natural wooden perch to improvise a tree branch so the bird is at comfort in the aviary.
Size, make the size at least double the wingspan of the bird so it can fly in comfort and not feel confined.
You want to feed your bird of prey meat as this is what they eat out in the wild. The portions depend on the size of the bird, bigger the bird the larger portions it needs. Don't overfeed him or he might be too heavy to catch prey.
This is the easiest part, just lay a bowl of fresh water on the floor for it everyday.
The weather plays an important factor in the aviary, you will need your aviary to be resistant to most weather types and your bird to be provided with the necessery requirements to survive the weather changes. Cover your aviary with a roof to shield the bird from rain and snowy conditions, if the weather is extremely windy consider buying covers for the aviary so the bird is comfortable.
Teaching the bird
Teaching the bird to fly to your fist is an amazing experience it takes time and dedication to master the art. To begin, just start stroking bird, start getting it used to you and talking to it. a few days later start trying to handling it, if it screams or starts biting don't start just yet, wait about a week of touching and stroking it. If then you are confident with it coming onto your fist with no problems, start teaching it how to fly to your fist. Attach your creance to the bird and your aviary or something stable and begin to apply food to your fist to entice the bird to fly to your first from about a distance of 15m - 20m to start off with and if it does, carry on. DO NOT feed the bird if it doesn't come to your fist. Only feed it when it comes to your first.
Start inceasing the distance between the bird and your fist and see if it will come. If you are confident with the bird coming to your fist, try releasing the creance and teaching it to come to your fist with food, eventually you will be able to take the bird out in fields and allow it to hunt, it will be a great experience for you and your bird.
You may want to aquire health insurance for your pet incase it becomes ill or has a life threatening condition, do NOT attempt to heal the bird yourself as you may be making it worse.
Hopefully this guide will help you to look after and train your bird so it is a great step towards being a master falconer. Good luck!