Aba A cloth wrap that immobilizes a bird to calm her or hold her for examination.
Aerie A raptor’s nest.
Anklets The leather strap which goes around the bird’s leg and have an eyelet for jesses to pass through.
Aylmeri Leather anklets and jesses.
Bal Chatri A trap used by many falconers and commonly referred to as a BC. This is one of the safest and simplest traps available. It is a small cage for bait keeping them separate from an attacking bird, then small nooses usually made of monofilament fishing line tied to the top that will ensnare the birds toes.
Band A plastic or metal identification ring that goes around the bird’s leg. Some states require certain wild taken species to be banded, other states require all wild taken birds to be banded, and other states have no such requirements, however, most states require captive-bred birds to be banded.
Bate The action of the bird attempting to fly from a perch or the fist while attached by a leash.
Bells – Bells come in different sizes to fit the size of the bird you have. They allow you to hear the bird when thay’re in trees or in the bushes on quarry.
Bewit Small strips of leather which attach the bells or other hardware to the bird’s leg.
Bind To grab and hold; a bird can bind to quarry, a lure, or the falconer’s hand.
Block perch This is a flat-topped perch used for falcons. A bow perch is traditionally used for hawks.
Blood feathers Feathers that are still growing and have blood in the shaft.
Bow Trap A trap that, when set, looks like a circle laying on the ground. When the bird comes in to investigate the bait, the trap is sprung causing the circle to release over the bird.
Bow perch The traditional perch for a hawk.
Braces Straps on the hood to tighten or loosen the hood.
Brancher An immature bird that can only jump from branch to branch but not yet flying.
Break-in To tear into the prey and begin eating.
Cast There are several definitions of the word “cast”. In bird behavior cast means to bring up the indigestible pieces of a meal, often in the morning or before becoming more active. The casting is a round or oblong wad of feathers, fur, and bones that are left after the nutritious parts of a meal are digested. The act of casting can sometimes appear to be concerning to those who are not used to it. The bird extends her neck, arches it, wrenches it down, may shake her head violently, and appear to vomit. Birds who successfully bring up castings and settle back down are only exhibiting healthy, normal behavior.
Cast can also mean to hold a bird down for examination, as in the phrase “We cast the bird to cope her.” The meaning here is that the bird was held down so that her beak could be trimmed and shaped.
Cast may also mean a group of birds (typically Harris’ Hawks) flown and hunted together like a pack.
Cast off With the bird on the fist, this is the action of pushing it to be airborne.
Casting The lump of indigestible fur, bone, and other material that a bird casts up. This is usually called a pellet in owls.
Cere The smooth, featherless skin just above the beak where it attaches to the forehead.
Chaps Chaps are leg protectors for a bird, primarily used when hunting squirrels as the squirrel teeth can severely damage a bird’s leg or toe.
Coping To re-shape the bird’s beak into its optimal form; to trim the growth and shape it up.
Creance A long line or cord attached to the bird while training. Ten yards is going to work for most situations, but for free flights to verify that your bird is ready to be taken from the creance, many recommend 50 yards in length.
Crop The crop of the bird is like a pouch along the esophagus. It is where food is initially placed before it moves into the stomach. Food comes here for quick storage and to soften it and to separate out the digestible from the indigestible. It is useful to note that owls have no crop.
Dho-gazza A trap consisting of a net suspended between a bird and bait. The bird flies into the net and the net collapses around the bird entangling her. This can be more stressful than some other traps as the bird must be sorted out from the netting.
Eyass A downy baby raptor; no pin feathers started. This can also refer to a bird taken from a nest as a downy chick.
Feak The action of rubbing the beak against a surface to clean it; sign of content bird.
Fledgling An immature bird who has flown at least once, but is still not in control and under the care of adult birds.
Foot To grab something with the foot and talons; this action is done to quarry to subdue or kill it. Occasionally it can be your hand if you’re not careful
Free loft A management technique where the bird is allowed the full roam of her mews without being tethered. Some birds do not acclimate to this well and some situations are not set up for this to be safe.
Gauntlet The glove worn by the falconer, traditionally on the left hand.
Haggard or Hag is a wild bird in her adult plumage over one-year-old.
Hallux The toe which faces backward on most raptors. In hawks, this is the talon most responsible for puncturing the vitals of prey.
Hard penned Referring to the shaft of the feather after the blood supply has rescinded.
Hawk Box or Giant Hood The ventilated box used to contain a bird for travel.
Hood The leather head covering used on hawks and falcons. The purpose of the hood is to hide the stimulus of the world from the bird’s sight to calm her or prevent her from reacting to things.
Imp Cutting a broken or damaged feather and replacing it with an undamaged feather. Imping usually involves cutting the shaft of the bird’s broken feather, trimming a feather that the falconer has on hand to the right length, and gluing the shaft of the replacement feather to the shaft of the broken feather on the bird.
Imprint A bird raised by humans and not by other raptors; the bird will also tend to identify with humans, but this is a long and complex topic.
Intermew To molt a bird in captivity. A three times intermewed bird is one who has spent three molt seasons in captivity.
Jerkin A male Gyrfalcon.
Jess Traditionally, these are leather strips that go through the anklets so the falconer can hold the bird and attach the leash. Modern jesses are of many types of material including parachute cord and various braids.
Keel The large bone running vertically up the bird’s breast; the sternum. This is the site of the breast muscle’s attachment and is a very important bone. The term “feel the keel” means to put the keel between your thumb and finger and judge the amount of fat and muscle along the sides of this ridge. A healthy, well-muscled bird will have dense padding along the sides and barely any ridge of the bone to be felt. A bird who is in low condition will have a sharp ridge of bone sticking out with very little muscle or fat alongside.
Leash Traditionally leather, this is what attaches the bird to the perch or falconer’s glove. Modern leashes have taken many forms and many materials are used.
Lure A fake quarry used to train a bird. For training birds to the feathered quarry, a feathered lure that looks like a bird is used, sometimes even mimicking the wing beats. For training to rabbits, birds such as Red-Tails are not terribly picky and will respond to almost anything they are trained to.
Man To acclimate a bird to your presence. A bird is said to be “well manned” when it is comfortable around people and accepting of their presence.
Mantle The action of stretching out the wings to hide food and better camouflage themselves on the ground.
Mew The bird’s secure enclosure where she lives; the hawk house.
Molt In most raptors, this is an annual shedding of the feathers.
Mute Referring both to the fecal matter and to the act of defecating.
Passage A passage bird is one trapped from the wild before it it’s 12 months of age or, more simply, an immature wild bird.
Pitch Referring to the height that a falcon will achieve when they rise. From this height, they will go into a stoop at prey or the lure.
Quarry The game that you are hunting such as rabbit, pheasant, crow, or quail.
Ring perch A perch made out of a circular piece of metal where the hawk stands on top.
Rouse The action of a hawk erecting its feathers and then shaking them; part of grooming; a sign of a relaxed and content bird.
Scale If for weighing your bird, and is used by falconers to ensure their bird’s health.
Screen perch A perch made of a vertical wall or screen topped by a bar for the bird to stand on.
Sharp Referring to the feel of the keel. A bird is sharp if the padding of fat and muscle on either side of the keel is recessed leaving the edge of the bone easily felt. This can also be used to refer to a bird’s mindset and that she is acting sharp even though her physical condition does not match.
Slice The throwing of a mute as what Accipiters, hawks, and eagles do forcibly ejecting the material. Falcons mute straight down while the other raptors fling their fecal matter out with a bit of velocity.
Slip The term for the quarry setup whereby it is in a position to be caught, usually referencing birds to be caught such as ducks or crows, giving the bird an opportunity for a flight at the prey.
Stoop The act of a bird (usually a falcon) flying high in the sky folding her wings back and dropping quickly at a bird or the lure; stooping also is used to describe lure flying where the bird is stooped to the lure making repeated shots at a lure.
Swivel Small metal joint used in between the leash and the jesses. When these birds are on the perch, they make many small movements turning around and such. Without the swivel, they would very quickly become entangled and endanger themselves.
Tail guard The feathers of an Accipiter are notoriously brittle. To prevent unnecessary tail breakage, a cover is placed over the tail or many of these birds.
Talon A raptor’s toe nail.
Tarsus The leg between the foot and first joint where an anklet will go around.
Telemetry Modern evolution of bells. A small transmitter is attached to the bird and the falconer has a receiver tuned to the bird’s frequency. If the bird is unable to be found, telemetry is used to locate her. This is one of the most revolutionary changes for modern falconry allowing falconers to fly the same bird for a longer period of time without her being lost, allows other falconers with receivers to assist in finding a lost bird, and allows the falcon to be flown at higher weights then ever before.
Tidbit A small piece of meat to feed the bird.
Tiercel A male raptor, although technically this applies to a male Peregrine Falcon in particular.
Tomial tooth The tooth (and often referencing the corresponding notch) in a falcon’s beak specialized for snapping the neck of their prey. Sometimes just called the notch.
Vent The external surface of the cloaca. Birds are unique in that their fecal and urates come from a single outlet which is the cloaca. The fecal is the dark portion and is the stool. The urate is the white solid portion. The clear-ish liquid is urine.
Wait on To soar either circling or hanging on the wind above the falconer waiting for quarry. The bird will then stoop at the quarry.
Warble The action of stretching both wings up over the back simultaneously.
Washed meat Meat that has been set to soak in cold water to pull much of the nutrients from the meat. The advantage is that a bird can be fed very large amounts without gaining much weight by ingesting fat and calories, similar to eating reduced-fat or low-calorie foods.
Weather To put a bird out into the open air and sometimes sunshine.
Yarak A state of complete focus on the hunt. The hawk is riding the fist in anticipation of the hunt and is ready to go.