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Adventures of the Falconer's Apprentice

This topic contains 8 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Brandie 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #2516 Score: 0


    I have been accepted for apprentice for a red tail hawk. Yesterday was my first session with the master who has taken me in.  I have created this thread to keep all the steps in order and save the information required to pass my test and inspection in order to keep my own hawk.  I was given biology books yesterday that are necessary to study for the test. I have to learn all the terminology of the equipment used in the sport, the history of falconry, obtain or make the necessary equipment involved, build a mews, build a weathering area, build a traveling container for the car to go hunting, and if I can complete all of these goals by September, I can live trap a hawk to train under the supervision of my Master.  It’s April 7th. Can I do all this by September? Going to find out!

    *Reminds self to call the DNR Monday for the falconers law packet

  • #2519 Score: 0


    Equipment (referred to as “furniture”) is critical to proper falconry and raptor maintenance. Good equipment need not be expensive or fancy, but properly working equipment is a necessity. There are many designs and opinions. Some falconers find certain equipment works better for them; some species have slightly different equipment needs, and some individuals have particular equipment needs.
    Note: If video clips do not launch automatically on your machine, right-click the link and select Save Link As… to save the video clip locally. The clip can be saved to your desktop, double-clicked, and played from there.

    Aba A cloth wrap that immobilizes a bird to calm her or hold her for examination.

    Anklets The leather strap which goes around the bird’s leg. The jesses are attached to this. Sometimes also called a bracelet.

    Aylmeri Leather anklets and jesses designed by the late Guy Aylmeri; replacement for traditional jesses.

    Bal Chatri A traditional trap used by many raptor banders, rehabilitators, and falconers commonly called 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 monofilament nooses over the top that will ensnare the 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.

    Bells Exactly that: small bells attached to the bird’s tarsus, tail, or around the neck. The benefit of this is to be able to hear the bird when she is in trees hidden by leaves or on the ground on quarry hidden by brush.

    Bewit Small strips of leather which attach the bells or other hardware to the bird’s leg. If a different material is used as a bewit, it should not be attached directly to the leg, but rather to the anklet. A cable tie is a great convenience, but must never be attached around the bird’s leg.

    Block perch The traditional perch for a falcon.

    Bow net 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 creating a semi-circle and a bag of net over the now trapped bird.

    Bow perch The traditional perch for a hawk.

    Braces Straps on the hood which open and close it.

    Brail A leather thong used to restrain one wing on a bird to prevent it from bating, especially during manning.

    Button The folded section of leather that acts as a stopper for the jesses against the anklet, or the braided end of a leash. This may also be called a knurl.

    Cadge A frame used to carry several birds at once.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Draw the braces To pull the braces of a hood such that they tighten and close.

    Gauntlet The glove worn by the falconer, traditionally on the left hand.

    Halsband The German term for a strap of leather looped around the bird’s neck and then hung down to help propel the bird (mainly Accipiters). Also called a jangoli. Here it is pictured with an accompanying neck bell. Photo courtesy of Kory Koch.

    Hawk Box The box used to contain a bird for travel; also called a giant hood. Red-Tailed Hawk loading into a hawkbox video clip: 2.5 meg

    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 to calm her or prevent her from reacting to things.
    Hooding video clip: 803 Kb A bird should hood calmly

    Jangoli A strap of leather looped around the bird’s neck and then hung down to help propel the bird (mainly Accipiters). Also called a halsband. Here it is pictured with an accompanying neck bell. Photo courtesy of Kory Koch.

    Jess Traditionally, these are leather strips which go through the anklets so the falconer can hold the bird or attach the leash. Modern jesses are of many types of material including parachute cord and various braids.

    Jess Extender This piece of furniture has two functions. First, it requires dexterity to slide the swivel up the jesses and then back through. The jess extender can make this easier, especially for those less deft. Second, the jess extender extends the swivel away from the bird. With a perch such as the Meng perch, a bate will cause the swivel to pass through the tail and damage it. However, if there is a jess extender long enough that the swivel is not allowed to pass through the tail, then the tail will be saved. Extending the swivel beyond the tail tip by 1″ or 1.5″ is far enough.

    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 feathered quarry, a feathered lure which 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.

    Mangalah A cuff used instead of a gauntlet in the Middle East. Sometimes also called a mankalah.

    Mew The bird’s secure enclosure where she lives; the hawk house.

    Ring perch A perch made out of a circular piece of metal where the hawk stands on top.

    Scale A modern addition to falconry, but used by most modern falconers to ensure their bird’s health. Much like an athlete knows his nutritional intake and his varying weights, so the falconer carefully watches his bird’s condition. Large birds such as eagles do not need a finely graduated scale. Smaller birds such as a Kestrel need a scale which can weigh out to the tenth of a gram, and smaller birds need to be weighed several times a day. Some falconers prefer manual balances and others prefer digital scales. A kitchen quality scale will not be precise enough for this task, though, but digital scales have increasingly become more accurate and stable, although they can still be less accurate at low ambient temperatures or high humidity. A spring-loaded scale (like a food scale or a cheap postal scale) will vary with temperature and age. Most falconers will apply Astroturf, cork, or another comfortable surface to the balance pan for the bird to stand on. Others place a short T-perch onto the pan for the bird. Almost every species of bird should be weighed in grams (not ounces or pounds) so that you get the most granular measurement of your bird’s weight.

    Screen perch A perch made of a vertical wall or screen topped by a bar for the bird to stand on.

    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. For Goshawks this is frequently made of X-ray film paper and for smaller birds like a Sharp Shin, this is made of overhead projector film, or another stiff, but light-weight film. These are attached to the tail by a tail mounted bell/transmitter and are removed for hunting and much of the weathering. Birds who are not allowed to weather without the guard on will develop even more brittle tails as they are prevented from properly preening their tail feathers. Tail guards can also hold moisture and allow feathers to rot if left on for extended amounts of time.

    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, the 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.

    Varvel A less used piece of equipment. This flat silver or brass ring served several purposes. It was attached at the end of a leather strip as the attachment for the leash, but also served as the quick release mechanism when hunting. (A single strip of leather or rope could be attached to the glove, passed through the rings, and held by the falconer. When the falconer cast the bird from the fist the strip would be released allowing it to pass through the varvels and the hawk to be released.) It was usually engraved with the owner’s coat of arms as a way to identify the bird. These have almost all been abandoned as they tend to tangle in brush and grasses.

    Yagi The hand-held antenna receiver portion of telemetry.

    Although not required, a very good idea is to place a small ID tag on your bird with your name, phone number, and REWARD. These are able to be purchased through many falconry suppliers, but one falconer I know creates his own out of Shrinky-Dinks. He is able to make them small and lightweight, but legible. As always, any additional equipment carries a risk. A small tag may have an attachment ring or a hole which a bird could catch a beak tip or a talon in. Falconers concerned about additional equipment often write the information onto the anklet with a leather marking pen.

    Many falconers also create business cards for themselves listing their name, that they are a falconer, their phone number, and email address so that they can hand it out to falconers or others whom they meet in the field. Getting access to land to hunt on can be easy or difficult depending on the local culture and relationships. Some states require a signed document stating that the falconer has permission to hunt on the property carried on them in the field while others do not. Some falconers have created a Landowner Permission form to help explain to the landowner what they are asking permission for, and to keep everything legal. These can be kept in a binder, and even with a map of the area showing where the falconer has permission. Many remember their landowners with cards or Christmas gifts to ensure they know how much they are appreciated. Permission to access land for falconry A template for conveying what falconry is to landowners and gaining written permission from them. You will need to edit this inserting your own name, and editing it for your purposes.
    NOTE: This is not a document carrying any legal weight and is not intended to convey legal information to the possessor or to agents. It is for assistance in your creation of your own document based on your state’s laws on your understanding of the laws. This has been based on many different falconers’ forms and has some good notes for any falconer.

  • #2520 Score: 0


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  • #2532 Score: 0


    lthough these have been researched and cross-referenced with available materials, it is no substitute for a veterinarian. Many of the largest problems come when raptor handlers wait too long to consult a vet. Birds are highly sensitive and 24 hours can mean the difference between a treatable disease and a dead bird. However, emergencies happen. Falconry is sometimes practiced beyond a geographic ability to get medical assistance. In these cases, doing something may be better than doing nothing. This is a guide to help identify when to seek help, when to urgently seek assistance, and how to avoid making a mistake in helping your bird. I always carry an avian first aid kit while out hunting or just traveling, and it has a set of printed instructions with it so that I will know how to properly handle an emergency. It also has my veterinarian’s business card and other emergency numbers so that he may be contacted for consultation.Hazards to birds come from all directions. While raptors with falconers are substantially more healthy and long-lived than in the wild, the bird essentially operates as a wild bird when hunting, and these same dangers are in place. Small raptors such as Kestrels, Merlins, and Sharp-Shinned Hawks often are attacked by cats, dogs, or larger raptors in the field – all dangers that a falconer can help mitigate, but cannot prevent. Larger birds are injured by barbed wire, storm fencing, power lines and transformers, cars and traffic, owls and larger raptors, dogs, and coyotes – all dangers that a falconer can help mitigate, but cannot prevent.

    It’s a good idea to have a helper standing by. It usually takes two people to handle a big bird that may be fighting or panicked. One can restrain and comfort the bird while the other person takes care of the injury. You and your helper should remain as calm as possible in an emergency situation. The bird will pick up on your emotions if you are panicked. Make sure nobody’s fingers are too close to the bird’s beak or talons or injury might result.

    Emergency Feeding
    Every falconer should have an emergency feeding recipe on hand in case of emergencies. If a bird is sick, has fallen to too low of weight, has been injured, or for any other reason needs nutrition and is unable to get that from standard food, an emergency nutritional recipe should be made up for her.
    Mix up equal parts of:

    Meat flavored baby food – or finely chopped meat or pureed meat (richer meat is better, include some fat, but include no bones, fur, or feathers – quail is easily digested by a sick bird; pigeon is very rich but may be too much for a starved bird)
    Karo syrup – this sugar can be digested by the body and absorbed with almost no effort. If you have no Karo on hand, Nutri-Cal can be used as can honey or Coke that has been boiled and cooled to remove carbonation. If the bird is extremely low, cut this back to only a very small amount as excess sugars will cause diarrhea and dehydration.
    Pedialyte – Lactated Ringer’s solution is preferred, but not readily available. Gatorade can be used, but is a bit harsher on the bird’s system.
    An egg yolk or two – highly nutritious to the bird and readily available.
    Very small pinch of salt – helps retain fluids.
    0.5 cc liquid vitamins – about 5% of the total amount of food you are making up
    Warm the slurry to body temperature (test the temperature on your wrist and make sure it is neither warm nor cold).
    With a small syringe (no needle inserted), or eyedropper, you can pump a few CCs into the bird’s mouth and let her swallow it.
    You can also dip tiny pieces of meat in the mixture and feed that to the bird. Some birds will eat this straight off the plate or your hand.
    You can tube this into the crop, but only if you know how to do this, otherwise you can end up passing the tube down the trachea instead of into the crop and end up drowning the bird, or at the very least allowing a tiny amount to enter the lungs and causing pneumonia. If you tube the bird, do not add more food in if a bird has not put over a crop and do not overfill the crop. Keep in mind that a good rule of thumb for raptor stomachs is to estimate about 50 ml for every 1000g of body weight. A 900g bird would have about a 45ml capacity in her stomach, and a 700g bird would have about a 35ml capacity. Over feeding can cause aspiration which can lead to further infection, asphyxiation, or death. It is better to feed small amounts multiple times throughout a day, both for their stomach capacity and for their ability to metabolize. Birds that are strongly resisting may have a tube placed in the wrong place or it may not be delivering the material low enough in the tract.
    For a Kestrel sized bird feed her 2-3 CC of this mix every 3-4 hours and keep her warm. If the bird is not kept warm she will stop digesting.
    Another solution for an emergency feeding is to get Canned Eukanuba prescription cat/dog food. As it is thick, thin it with water, Pedialyte, lactated Ringer’s solution, fresh pigeon blood, or even the water off of washed meat and tube into the bird. Hill’s a/d Canned Prescription cat/dog food can also be used, but it has fewer calories.
    If feeding pigeon to a sick, but not starved, bird, dip the pigeon tidbits into the above mixture leaving out the slurried meat. Soak the nutritional supplement mixture into the feathers and feed tiny bits of breast meat. Make sure to feed the guts to keep the gut flora going in your bird. Calf liver will also work well for a sick bird.
    Nutrical contains a substantial amount of fat and is more difficult to break down, so for starved birds Nutrical should be avoided, and pancreatin should be considered as an additive to help the digestive process. Once the bird is past the starvation, the pancreatin can be omitted and more nutritional additives like Nutrical can be added.
    Pedialyte is hypertonic and so will draw fluids into the bird’s digestive tract. For severely dehydrated birds Pedialyte should be avoided until the bird is sufficiently hydrated to tolerate it.
    Always keep an emaciated bird warm and hydrated. Consider B-complex vitamins and antibiotics if necessary. Also consider proboitics. Including about 1 TB of yogurt or kefir in 100 cc of fluid can help support the raptor’s natural flora. Be aware that yogurt and antibiotic should not be fed within 2 hours of each other. Yogurt is particularly useful after any antibiotic to repopulate the gut bacteria.
    Avian Emaciation

    Emergency First Aid
    In any emergency, remain calm. Gently restrain your bird in a towel to examine it. Remember, it’s extremely important to be careful when restraining the bird – don’t put a lot of pressure on her chest or she may suffer breathing problems.

    Antacid preparation (TUMS)
    Aloe Vera
    Benadryl Allergy
    Antiseptic towelettes or wash
    Artificial tears



    Neosporin Ointment

    Rubbing alcohol and alcohol swabs

    Tissue glue

    KY Jelly

    Cotton balls
    Favorite food
    Nail clippers
    Gauze pads
    Pedialyte (or generic equivalent)
    Nail file
    Hot/cold pack
    Paper towels
    Needle-nose pliers
    Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors
    Sterile water
    Rubber gloves
    Squirt bottle filled with water
    Vet Wrap or Paper Tape
    Water and cup
    Stockinette or sock




    Wire cutters

    Pill cutter and crusher

    Pen – Suggested you write down a list of important phone numbers and tape them to the kit. Be sure to include your avian vet’s phone number, emergency clinic phone number, animal poison control hotline number, contact number for a relative, and any other important numbers.

    National Animal Poison Control Center Hotlines
    1-800-548-2423 – $30 per case
    Or 1-900-680-0000 – $20 first 5 minutes, plus $2.95 per additional minute
    1-800-222-1222 – National (human) Poison Hotline

    Vet – Always have your vet’s name, number, and address handy. If you’re more paranoid and will be on a hunting trip far from home, sighting out potential vets in the location you will be is not a bad idea.
    Recommended raptor veterinarian list

    Extended Avian Kit – recommendations
    Betadine or Hibitane (chlorhexidine) – A disinfectant. Do NOT use hydrogen peroxide since it can cause tissue injury in birds.

    Clotisol – Blood clotting gel, when applied to a minor wound, feather follicle, bleeding talon or beak, will quickly and safely stop bleeding. It is safer and less caustic than clotting powders or sticks, and may be applied with cotton-tipped applicators. Avoid getting on mucus membranes (eye or lid, mouth or cloaca).

    Eye dropper

    Goo Gone – Used to cut through grease or any substance that may be stuck to the bird’s skin or feathers. Another option is a chemical called Polysorbate80. This may be available at your pharmacy. Either can be used with a soft toothbrush to spread into feathers and allow to sit for a few moments before rinsing out with warm water.


    Lactated Ringer’s solution – Used for IV rehydrating of dehydrated avians and flushing wounds. Can give subcutaneous Lacated Ringer’s solution if a bird is dehydrated or in shock. (Available from your Veterinarian)

    Latex tubing – To be used as directed by your avian veterinarian, to insert into the crop to administer medication, fluids, hand-feeding formula, to flush out a crop that won’t empty, to flush cool water into a crop immediately after a crop burn is discovered. If you are not familiar with these procedures, discuss them with your avian vet before you have an emergency so that you may learn the proper techniques.

    Neck brace – Gray foam in a circle, to be used to keep a bird from chewing feathers or mutilating flesh, cut to length to prevent a bird from bending neck down to bite skin or feathers, then tape, make sure bird can access food and water with neck brace in place.

    Ophthalmic ointment – For scratched eyes, minor conjunctivitis.

    Povidone iodine swab – May be used to clean and treat a wound, as directed by your avian veterinarian.

    Tegaderm – Excellent for covering certain types of open wounds. Helps healing for burns and certain open wounds. Encourages granulation (healing/scabbing).

    Sterile lubricant – To be used as directed by your vet to cover an open wound (to keep it moist and prevent infection). Sterile KY Jelly does an excellent job of this and can be tossed into a first aid kit to cover an open fracture site or other open wound until a veterinarian can attend it.

    Sterile surgical blade – To be used as directed by your avian vet, can cut fibers tied around toes, etc.

    Suturing materials (surgical needles and thread) – Use only if you know what you are doing, or to save a bird’s life. Take to veterinarian ASAP.

    Avian First Aid Instructions
    Danger Signs and Emergencies
    There are many problems which you should be prepared for. Any time a bird has any of the following symptoms: stops eating, sits fluffed on the floor, is bleeding from mouth or vent, has uncontrollable bleeding, has runny eyes, can’t breathe, sneezes with discharge, has diarrhea, has constipation (straining to defecate), has loss of balance, depression, or lethargy, take your bird to the veterinarian.

    Birds do not have much clotting agent in their blood. A broken blood feather, or a minor cut, can be life threatening. The bleeding must be stopped. If bleeding does not stop, apply pressure and rush the bird to the veterinarian.

    In Emergencies
    Keep an injured bird warm by transporting it on a heating pad, hot water bottle, or make-shift water bottle that is a latex glove filled with hot water. Transport it in a carrier, box, or plastic box covered with a towel, to minimize visual stimuli and make sure the bird is secured and cannot escape.

    To safely transport your bird to the vet, remember these three things:

    Disinfect skin. Poke with sterile needle to allow air to escape. Repeat as necessary. Air sacs are located inside the neck, chest and belly. When ruptured, air will leak from the sac and accumulate under the bird’s skin. If air is not released, the tear in the sac will enlarge. If there is no improvement within 48 hours, it will require surgical repair or antibiotic therapy.

    Feed with a syringe only if you know what you are doing.

    Avian blood has very little clotting agents in comparison to mammal blood. A bird can literally bleed to death from a broken blood feather.

    Cleanse the area gently with rubbing alcohol, Nolvasan or Betadine, but not with hydrogen peroxide. Stop any serious bleeding with pressure and a sterile gauze, or use clotting gel. Apply cornstarch, baking soda, or flour to stop the bleeding, but not Quik Stop (silver nitrate) as it causes tissue damage and can cause poisoning. Pack styptic on liberally to the site of the wound. If necessary, cover the wound with gauze pads and hold firm pressure on the wound for two minutes. Keep the bird quiet and warm. Leave the gauze on. Offer Pedialyte.

    If cut is on leg or feet, apply antibiotic ointment, then bandage loosely. If cuts are on the body, cover with gauze and appropriate size stocking, (cut hole in toe for head and slide over body).

    Bleeding in avians may be an emergency. It is important to recognize which situations can be managed at home and when veterinary care should be obtained as soon as possible.

    Don’t panic. Stay calm. Concentrate only on stopping the bleeding. Birds can loose up to 10% of their blood volume without becoming symptomatic.

    When handling a bird to control bleeding, good restraint technique is important to ensure that the bird is not getting overheated. Holding the bird in a damp towel will help reduce the risk of heat stress.

    Failure of bleeding to stop with appropriate first aid measures may indicate underlying liver disease. Transport the bird as soon as possible to a veterinarian. The bird may require treatment for shock.

    Have the phone numbers of your avian veterinarian as well as an after-hours veterinarian readily available.

    For Clotrisol as a styptic: Moisten the applicator and apply firm pressure to the bleeding for several seconds to stop bleeding. Reapply if necessary. Serious bleeding or deep wounds should be cared for by your avian veterinarian only. Until you can get to your vet, use a sterile dressing and apply direct pressure to the bleeding area. If a beak or talon is split, or broken far back, if clotting gel does not stop bleeding, apply ice to the talon or beak, and take the bird immediately to your avian veterinarian.

    Bleeding from broken blood feathers
    Apply cornstarch or flour to feather shaft and observe. Tissue glue, if available, may be used instead. Take care to avoid getting on surrounding feathers. If this fails to stop bleeding, take bird to veterinarian. Pulling blood feathers should not be done routinely because of risk of damage and prolonged bleeding from follicle, but may be required if feather is cracked or bent badly (bird may chew feather and start bleeding again.)

    If veterinary care is not readily available and bleeding is not controlled:
    Grasp the bleeding feather shaft firmly at base of feather close to the skin with hemostat or needle-nose pliers, holding wing firmly and pull shaft out quickly. If follicle bleeds apply pressure for 1 minute with thumb and index finger. If pressure fails to control bleeding from the follicle, apply cornstarch or flour. Gelfoam (obtain from avian vet) may be used instead of cornstarch or flour. In RARE situations, you may have to apply tissue glue over the Gelfoam to control the bleeding from a follicle. If a feather is merely broken off but not bleeding, do not pull the feather if at all possible. There’s a significant likelihood that it will damage the feather follicle.

    Bleeding from talons
    Apply cornstarch or flour and apply pressure. Although Quik Stop may be used on the beak or talons, a talon treated with Quik Stop could be used to scratch the face and silver nitrate is not a substance you want in the eyes. For this reason, other substances are safer to use. If nothing else is available, apply PRESSURE until the bleeding stops.

    Bleeding from beak
    Apply pressure, cornstarch or flour. If available, apply Gelfoam and cover with tissue glue. Bird should be assessed by avian vet to determine extent of damage (most damage is not visible externally). If the tip of the beak has broken off due to trauma, there may be cracks higher up. Stabilization of the beak with an acrylic may be helpful. Beak injuries may be painful. Provide a soft diet until bird can eat normally.

    Bleeding from the mouth
    Serious emergency usually indicating internal injuries. Large blood losses can occur quickly. Keep bird warm and quiet. Transport to veterinarian as soon as possible.

    Bleeding from the vent
    Causes include egg-binding, polyp, ulcer. May see bloody diarrhea. Serious emergency. Keep bird warm and quiet. Transport to veterinarian as soon as possible. A bound egg may be loosened by dipping a finger in mineral oil and slipping into the cloaca to coat the cloaca and egg with oil. The egg may release as you withdraw your finger. A bound egg may also be treated by having a vet inject the bird with calcium. A bird that frequently gets bound eggs may need to be treated with Lupron.

    If there are obvious fractures, wrap the bird in a stocking to prevent the wings from flapping, or apply a splint to keep broken bones from causing more tissue damage. Look for shock symptoms. If bone ends are exposed, gently slather on some KY Jelly (or Neosporin if you have nothing else). KY Jelly is water soluble and easily rinsed off, and may actually save the bone from amputation.

    Wings – cut toe out of appropriate size sticking allowing bird room to expand chest while breathing. Place over bird with head through cut hole and cut opening for feet. Support the broken bone and do not attempt to straighten.

    Toes – wrap gauze into ball. Put foot around ball. Wrap foot to gauze ball with gauze.

    Call the vet and get there as soon as possibleBROKEN FEATHERS
    A broken feather will most likely require imping. While a bent feather can be dipped in luke-warm or warm water and on removing from the water will start to straighten out, a broken feather is much more involved to fix.

    Restrain bird, dab area with gauze, apply styptic (corn starch or soap bar are the safest styptic materials). Observe to make sure bleeding has stopped. If there is uncontrolled bleeding for more than a few minutes, call Vet.
    If talon is split, or broken far back, if clotting gel does not stop bleeding, apply ice to the talon, and take the bird immediately to your avian veterinarian. A broken talon will grow back eventually. Some recommend covering the talon core with clear nail polish to help protect the core, which is very sensitive. Hawk should be held back from hunting until this heals.

    Restrain bird, dab area with gauze, apply styptic (corn starch or soap bar are the safest styptic materials). Observe to make sure bleeding has stopped. If there is uncontrolled bleeding for more than a few minutes, call Vet.
    If the beak is split, or broken far back, if clotting gel does not stop bleeding, apply ice and take the bird immediately to your avian veterinarian.
    A great case from rehabilitator Sharron Montgomery of the Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center: I suspect she broke her beak from the constant tugging on the bandages, weakening it slowly over time. She has been without them since the beak breakage and is doing well. [This shows] the progress after 2 months. It was really quite amazing how well she adapted. We only had to cut her food for a couple of weeks after [the after photo was taken]. A broken beak may be treated with dental acrylic or methyl methacrylate (a substance use din repairing the hooves of horses) where more beak material is needed to be added, quick drying epoxy or quick drying superglue where the crack is more superficial, or treated like a ladies’ manicure laying silk over the crack and applying a quick drying superglue in order to reinforce the structure.

    Peregrine with a broken beak (image on left) and same Peregrine after two months (picture on right)
    Photo courtesy of Sharron Montgomery of the Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center
    Video about an eagle with a broken beak

    Many creams and lotions are toxic to birds, so make sure that you use 100% pure Aloe Vera or something known to be safe like Silvadene or Bactroban.
    Spray or flush with cool water. Glaze burns twice daily with small amounts of antibiotic ointment.
    BURN BY ACID: apply a thin coat of baking soda paste.
    BURN BY BASE (like bleach): treat with vinegar to neutralize.
    BURN BY GREASE: sprinkle with flour or cornstarch before rinsing with water. Be careful not to get any in eyes or nose.

    Wash out with alcohol. If it is not deep, apply antibiotic ointment. Vet can administer injectable ampicillin. Clavamox is particularly good for skin wounds.
    Cats transmit a bacterium called pasteurella with their bites or scratches. In birds, this causes Pasteurella septicemia, which can mean death within 24 hours if not treated.

    Sometimes birds’ eyes are bigger than their crops or a small bone catches in the throat. If the bird is able to get air, allow her to try to work it down. If bird is not able to get air through, grab bird and tip her upside down with a short jolt to attempt to dislodge the blockage. If you can reach inside the beak and grab the food out, do so carefully. This is an urgent and very serious problem and even wild birds have suffered from this. This can be prevented for the most part by carefully cutting up the bird’s food preventing such parts as ribs sticking out from vertebrae from catching in the throat.

    Birds frequently collide with other objects such as a rock, tree, window, or car. Collisions are typically head on, and so head trauma must be considered. Collisions may also involve the keel. Birds are often knocked unconscious in a collision. They should be carefully picked up making sure not to move their position too much in case there is a fracture. Transporting a bird on a towel will help support her. Immediate concern is head trauma and veterinarians will treat with Metacam (meloxicam).

    Place in a quiet, padded box. Can be caused by poisoning, nutritional deficiency, epilepsy, or infectious disease (bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic). If this is apoplexy, give bird Pedialyte, Gatorade, or a sugar-salt water solution to replace electrolytes.

    If you realize in time, flush the crop with cold water. If crop appears swollen and discolored (many days after) apply vitamin A and D ointment and feed small meals.

    A few drops of Maalox or Digel, or a few drops of mineral oil (orally) and massage crop.

    You will notice a drop of blood on the bird’s feathers in some cases. Other times a bite of food will literally fall out of the bird’s crop and onto the ground. Suturing is very difficult with this thin skin, however some tears are cleaned up and treated with tissue glue. Many times a small tear will just heal on its own given rest and small meals.
    Feed the bird small quantities of food at a time to prevent future tearing. A course of antibiotics should be given.

    Feed a few drops of Pepto Bismol.

    Put bird in steamy room (like bathroom with shower on) 85°-90° Fahrenheit, humidity 60%. Set bird on wet toweling. Give high calorie, high calcium food. Can also try coating finger in clean vegetable oil or mineral oil and reaching into the cloaca until your fingertip touches the egg. Rolling your oiled finger around against the egg and slowly pulling your finger out sometimes lubricates the cloaca and egg sufficiently and pulls the egg out as you withdraw your finger.

    Keep bird confined and warm. Avoid giving any fluids. Immediately seek veterinary assistance for diuretics (Lasix (furosemide) or Azium (dexamethasone) dosed appropriately for raptors).

    Keep bird away from intense light. Flush eye with clean water using cotton ball or syringe.
    OBJECT IN EYE: float it out with KY Jelly or Ophthalmic ointment. Do not try to remove it mechanically as it could scratch the eye.

    Mix one pint of water, one pint of Gatorade, 1 teaspoon of honey or Karo syrup, 1 level teaspoon of baking soda, 1 level teaspoon table salt. Caution: Measure with care; inaccurate measurements can cause severe diarrhea.

    Spray feathers with cool water. Put feet in cool water. Place in cool, dark room. Watch bird for shock. Wrap loosely in towel to prevent chill.

    Pedialyte, Gatorade, orange or cherry juice offered orally. Gavage (tube) only if you know what you are doing. Lactated Ringers subcutaneous if you know how to administer.

    Dust bird with cornstarch or flour (keep away from eyes and nose). An easy way to do this is to fill a pillowcase with flour, cut a hole for the head, stick it through, gently shake it. Then fill sink with 3 or 4 inches of warm water and mild detergent (like Dawn) or Goo Gone. Work soap in directions of feather growth and rinse (sink spray attachment is helpful). Dry and keep bird warm. Wait until next day to repeat (if necessary). This works for cleaning tar, oil, mutes and nearly anything that is caked on the feathers weighing down a bird, preventing normal movement, and preventing her from regulating her temperature properly. While OxyClean can be used on moulted feathers to clean them or on the tips of feathers, I have not heard of anyone using it on a raptor’s body directly and it may cause damage to their sensitive skin.

    Call vet and follow directions. If vet is not accessible:
    If by acid, alkalis, or petroleum product: make it swallow milk, mixed with Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate (1cc/100 grams body weight), eggwhite, or olive oil. DO NOT MAKE BIRD VOMIT!
    If by other: induce vomiting. Use mustard and water solution and put at the back of the throat.

    If known, call poison control center: 1-800-548-2423 – $30 per case
    Or 1-900-680-0000 – $20 first 5 minutes, plus $2.95 per additional minute
    Note: mushrooms, crayons, some fruit pits, nicotine, chocolate, and foil may be bird poisons.

    This depends on what the source of the puncture is. In general, cleaning it with an antibiotic soap, treating it immediately with Nolvasan or Neosporin and getting her to a vet as soon as possible is the best course of action. Punctures can go deeper than you think, can have extensive internal damage, and can heal from the outside in, all of which are problematic to her health. Many punctures will become infected, and if Pasteurella septicemia is developed, this can mean death in as little as 24 hours.

    Symptoms are fluffed feathers, not moving, rapid shallow breathing, head may be turned with eyes partly closed.
    Place bird in warm (86°-90° F), secluded, dimly lit environment. If accompanied by life threatening injuries, treat injuries immediately. If head trauma is suspected, it may be better to keep the bird cooler to prevent brain damage.

    Place in small darkened enclosure, keep warm. Offer favorite foods and Pedialyte or Gatorade. Call vet.

    Keep the bird in a dark, stress-free area to allow her to rest.

    Bee stings are not uncommon as yellow jackets are attracted to the smell of meat. The largest danger is a sting in the throat as the bird could have trouble breathing. Keep the bird away from bees, and if she is stung externally, a paste of baking soda and water will help draw the venom out.

    SWALLOWING STRANGE OBJECTS (Foreign body ingestion)
    Observe bird and keep them quiet. Try to locate object to see if in fact they swallowed it. Palpate crop area carefully. Call Vet for advice

    Treat with a few drops of Pepto Bismol.


    Raptor radiographs
    Wound Assessment in Avian Wildlife
    Wound management in the avian wildlife casualty – Part 1
    Wound management in the avian wildlife casualty – Part 2

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    test study

    malar stripe
    supercilliary line
    deck feathers

    -What is a three-piece hood? Rufter, Syrian, Dutch

    -What is unrealistic of a Redtail Hawk- Pheasant or Squirrel? I know that squirrels spell trouble.. but a RT could feasably take one. Pheasants are considerably larger- is that the correct answer? (Yes, I read into tests a little too much)

    -Which are more efficient at killing their prey once they have caught it? longwings, buteos, accipiters

    -If a nest contains 4 chicks, how many are permitted to be taken by a falconer with the appropriate permits? 1, 2, 3, 4

    -Bownet is unacceptable to capture which of the following- Eagles, Falcons, Buteos

    -Why is it that in a GHO’s nest, all eyeasses are unlikely to be of the same age?

    -Adult raptors are likely to desert a nest.. prior to egg laying, during late incubation, or during hatching?

    -Hawks in immature plumage appear to be.. smaller than when they become adults, larger than when they become adults, larger or smaller than adults, depending on how well they were fed as nestlings and on how successful as hunters they were after leaving the nest.

    -If baby raptors are in the nest and one parent is lost.. the remaining parent takes over all parenting duties, regardless of sex, if only the female survives, she finds another male to hunt, or neither.

    -Longwings are different from other members of the falconiformes in that they.. posess extra large feet, have a notched beak, are the most maneuverable.

    -How do longwings subdue their prey?

    -Which hawk is least likely to slice? Peregrine, Redtail, Golden Eagle

    -Why can the Peregrine be called the most successful hawk? Occurs on most continents, lays more eggs per clutch, only competes with man.

    -How does plumage, skin and scale areas differ on adult vs. juvenile Peregrines?

    -What is the large dark peregrine located on the American Northwest? Anatum, Peales, Common

    -The characteristic of dark triangular patches under each wing identifies.. Prairie Falcon, lugger, Peales Falcon.

    -A young Prairie Falcon will leave its eyrie at.. 5-6 weeks, 8-9 weeks, 16-19 weeks.

    -What is the hunting style of the Prarie Falcon?

    -Longwing most likely to be found in a former Crow’s nest.. Peregrine, Gyr, Merlin.

    -Which birds lack highly distinguishable immature plumage in the first year? Goshawk, Redtail, Kestrel

    -The hawk with a summer Buteonine hunting style for grashoppers and mice, and winter falconine style for small birds is.. Marsh Hawk, Kestrel, Merlin.

    -Strongest foot for size.. Merlin, Kestrel, Lanner.

    -How does one distinguish a passage from haggard Kestrel?

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