Zuess here is our newest member of our hawk bird scarers, bird control team. At just over 20 weeks old, Adam our main falconer and bird controller has now got him flying free and obedient to the fist (he comes back when called!).
Training hawk bird scarer
To give a captive bred hawk an interesting life outside of the aviary we have to undergo an intensive training programme. This starts of my “manning” the bird, this is the process of the hawk getting use to the falconer and realising that he is a friend and not foe. The falconer will sit for many hours with the hawk on his fist waiting for the bird to feed. Once the bird makes the connection that the falconer is nice “as he feeds me” then the trust and bond partnership begins between the two. The falconer will then encourage the bird to jump to his fist for a food reward then increase the distance (while on a light weight training line called a creance) until the hawk is flying 100 yards or so to the fist when called.
When the falconer is happy with the birds response (by now most birds are now looking for the falconer and may come before being called!) he will remove the line, have his heart in his mouth and fly and let the bird fly free. This normally goes without issue and then it is now time to build fitness into the bird so he becomes an accomplished hawk bird scarer . All through the bird’s life they are weighed every day so we can have “fit not fat hawks” and the falconer can gauge that they are getting a healthy diet.
A little bit of help
The art of falconry is thousands of years old and the methods are virtually unchanged to this day. Though we do have a little help from technology when using hawks as bird scarers in the form of a small transmitter the birds wears so if it goes AWOL we know where it is. One thing it does not have is a return to falconer button! Read HERE when Honey, another member of the team decided to go AWOL as a hawk bird scarer.
Here is a new line of business for us: Using birds of prey to take down drones! See: //www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/08/scotland-yard-interested-in-using-eagles-to-take-down-drones