Pitfalls[edit | edit source]
most people who have not trained under a truly qualified master falconer have the impression that falconry is easy, simply fun and is an excuse to live with wild animals. The hunting partnership between a falconer and his bird is not at all like keeping a pet or a wild animal collection. Most falconers only have one or two birds, as they each require much effort. Websites or blogs featuring uniformed individuals buying several newly fledged captive bred hawks and then turning them outside to "hunt" are as far from the sport of falconry as can be imagined.
Weight is key, especially in small species. Some falconers recommend beginners start with a kestrel, a tiny species of falcon. They are ready sparrow hunters, and as they are so small one must pay close attention to their weight and training to avoid hurting them. Similarly, some falconers detest the use of Harris' Hawks by beginners as the birds are so forgiving the novice falconer can make constant mistakes in the bird's care and still hunt successfully. If the bird is a non-imprinted captive-bred, it is very important to establish in the bird's mind that food comes from the falconer. The bird will be getting accustomed to its new 'furniture' (equipment) as well as its new owner.
Since the success of the Harry Potter series, some novices are desperate to keep (or hunt with) an owl. Seldom does this lead to success. Many states in the F.S.P. provide for keeping a great horned owl for hunting, but it is a difficult venture. Owls can be a horror to hunt with, as they find prey more by hearing than their diurnal(daytime) counterparts. Even the Great Horned Owls and Eagle Owls, which can see well enough during the day, will still prefer hunting at night.
There's also greater risk to the owl when it is out during the daytime. All of the diurnal raptors see owls as mortal enemies in competition with them for food and territory. Accordingly, wild birds of prey will attack an owl mercilessly if given the opportunity, even killing it if they're able to do so.
Laws also carefully regulate falconry in many areas. Throughout the United States, for example, you will be required to pass a written exam, build facilities, have them inspected, serve a two-year apprenticeship, and keep diligent records on your birds. In order to catch a wild bird, you may need additional licensing and permission.
Contacting a local falconry club or association is usually the first step to learning.