Training Young Raptors

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Lure training a young female Gyr/Saker Falcon

One advantage of having my talented journalist boyfriend home for a visit is that I get great photos of my latest activities!

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Not interested in the lure

I’ve been working at the Raptor Centre for about a month now and it’s been magical. I’m lucky to be there at a time when there are many young birds to train: Cooper’s Hawks, Red Tailed Hawks, Harris Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Gyrfalcons and Gyr/Saker Falcon hybrids. They all need glove training and flight training.

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A young Peregrine Falcon

IMG_9344IMG_9338IMG_9351IMG_9353IMG_9363Above is a young Peregrine Falcon I’m feeding on the glove. This is so he can learn that the glove is a nice place to be where he gets to eat. At first he wasn’t interested in his chunk of raw quail and was preoccupied with trying to take it away to enjoy somewhere else. You can see how hard he was leaning to one side. Once I tried wiggling the meat in my glove a little he changed his mind and decided to chow down.

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Lovely Bell enjoying some sunshine on her back

Some of the training we do is simply manning birds, which means to carry them around on the glove. This is just good practice for the birds as they get to observe their surroundings and form positive experiences. Of course some of our birds are very well trained already like Bell the Saker Falcon (above photo) and Harry the Swainson’s Hawk (below photo).

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Getting Harry off his weathering station and onto the glove for a manning session

Next up is feeding a Gyrfalcon/Saker hybrid on the glove. This little beauty tore through her portion of pigeon in no time. You can tell she’s young because of the bluish tinge to her cere (nostril area) and feet. These will mature to a bright yellow color.

IMG_9402IMG_9398IMG_9383Finally, feeding a pure white Gyrfalcon on the glove. Gyrs are magnificent birds that used to be reserved for kings and nobles in European falconry. They are very impressive, especially when tearing apart their prey. Thanks for reading!

IMG_9316IMG_9304All photos by the Stuttering Journalist.

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