Falconry/Relationship Between Falconer and Bird

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Relationship Between Falconer and Bird[edit]

In falconry, a young, but fully-grown, raptor is trained through operant conditioning using the reward of food as a positive reinforcement. Unlike pets, raptors are non-affectionate animals, having no ability to deal with dominant or submissive roles (with the exception of the Harris' Hawk). They do not "love" the falconer, they will not aim to please him; they're simply opportunistic and learn that life with the falconer affords the easiest and most reliable source of food and protection. Continuing the relationship, then, is a matter of convenience for the raptor. However, it is often thought there is a bond between bird and falconer, through which each trusts the other. The bird trusts the falconer not to steal its food and provide protection, and the falconer trusts the bird to come back.