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Fall Season 2005

A Few Falconry Terms

  • Alula: The feathered thumb at the carpal joint on a hawk or falcon's wing
  • Alymeri: A two piece jess that consists of an anklet with a grommet and a separate strap
  • Aspergillosis: An often fatal, mold spore borne lung disease occuring in hawks and falcons
  • Austringer: A falconer who trains and flies hawks rather than falcons
  • Bal-chatri: Commonly called a "BC," it is a trap for raptors that consists of a cage with a bait animal inside, the cage covered with small nooses to snag the leg and toes of the hawk. Most widely used trap.
  • Bate: While tethered, to fly off the fist or perch; typically a bad thing
  • Bind to: Grab and hold (quarry)
  • Block: A flat perch used for falcons (except kestrels and merlins), rarely for hawks
  • Bewits: Little straps that hold falconry bells
  • Bow Perch: Most common perch used for hawks, not falcons
  • Broadwing: A reference sometimes made to a raptor of the genus Buteo or Parabuteo
  • Broadwing Hawk: A small buteo hawk, Buteo platypterus, seldom used in falconry. When migrating, soars in enormous flocks called "kettles."
  • Coccidiosis: a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract caused by microscopic organisms called coccidia. The disease spreads from one bird to another by contact with infected feces.
  • Cadge: A rectangular portable perch carried to the field with several birds aboard. Traditionally carried by an older guy. The origin of the word "codger."
  • Carry: The bird's flying off with prey, a very common situation with small hawks with small quarry.
  • Cast: a) multiple birds flown simulteously at a single quarry; b) to regurgitate fur, bone, and feathers; c) to bind the bird up so that the falconer can do some physical maintenace.
  • Cere: Soft fleshy tissue on the highest part of a raptor's beak.
  • Creance: Essentially a long leash attached to the jesses for training the bird to fly to lure or fist outdoors. Reduces the risk of losing the bird while training
  • Deck: The middle feathers in a raptor's tail plumage
  • Enter: Starting a hawk out on a certain type of prey
  • Eyas: A falconry bird of any age that was originally taken from its nest or "eyrie" as a fledgling
  • Eyrie or Aerie: A raptor's nest, originally probably referred to the cliff dwellings of the large falcons
  • Falcon: Generally a raptor of genus Falco. In falconry, only a female bird of genus Falco. A female falcon is called a "falcon," as opposed to a "tiercel."
  • Falconry: A mental disorder disguised as an engrossing hobby or sport
  • Frounce: A falconry term for the disease trichomoniasis. Sometimes birds are infected by the eating of pigeons. These days it is quite treatable; peregrines seem to have a natural immunity
  • Feak: To clean the bill on the perch after a meal
  • Foot: To grab with a (raptor's) foot, a falconer's extremity. A painful condition, to be avoided if possible
  • Free-lofting: Allowing the bird to fly free within the confines of the mews
  • Gyrkin (or Jerkin): A male gyrfalcon
  • Hack: To keep a bird in a semi-wild state as part of his training
  • Haggard: A bird trapped as an adult e. g. my kestrel, "Apollo"
  • Hawking: Another name for falconry
  • Hen: A female hawk, a term sometimes used when referring to female hawks
  • Hood: a cap, usually leather, covering eyes and head that is placed on a bird's head to keep it calm
  • Intermewed: Describes a bird kept under falconry management through the molt
  • Jack: A male merlin
  • Jesses: Leather straps attached to a trained falcon's legs
  • Longwing: A raptor of the genus Falco, a falcon
  • Lure: A fake bird or animal, usually just a leather object, used to retrieve the bird in the field
  • Making In: The falconer's approach to a bird on the ground on a kill, a critical time especially with a bird that carries.
  • Malar Stripe: Characteristic black mark under the eye of a falcon (lacking in gyrfalcons)
  • Manning: The process of taming the bird and getting it used to the falconer and all of the disturbances encountered in captivity. Often involves carrying the bird on the fist.
  • Mantle: a) To cover and hide prey or food with the wings; b) a form of stretching
  • Mews: Housing for a trained hawk or falcon
  • Musket: Male (European) sparrow hawk
  • Passager: A falconry bird trapped in its first year e.g. "Alex"
  • Pitch: The height of a falcon's flight relative to the ground. At sea level, its altitude
  • Primaries: The outboard feathers on the trailing edge of a birds wing
  • Put in: Prey hiding in cover
  • Put Over: Moving food from the crop to the stomach
  • Rouse: To puff out and shake the feathers
  • Secondaries: Feathers along the trailing edge of a bird's wing, inboard of the primaries
  • Shortwing: A raptor of the genus Accipiter, a true hawk
  • Stoop: A hawk's, especially a falcon's, dive
  • Talon: A raptor's claw
  • Tarsus: Lower leg
  • Telemetry: An electronic transmitter/receiver system for tracking the bird.
  • Tiercel: A male falcon or hawk, generally
  • Tiercel Gentle: Archaic term for a male peregrine
  • Waiting On: The bird's flying above the falconer's head waiting for quarry to flush
  • Weathering: Tethering the hawk or falcon out in the open air for sunning or bathing
  • Wing-over: A spectacular aerial maneuver, made by hawks and falcons (often made by some red-tail hawks while hunting rabbits)
  • Yarak: An aggressive psychological state especially characteristic of accipiters. It may be brought on by a range of factors from eagerness to hunt to the onset of disease. Yarak manifests itself in an exaggerated vertical posture and erected plumage.