One of the most important parts of falconry is equipment. There are several pieces of equipment that are used constantly by the falconer and many of them are even required to pass the DEC inspection. The equipment required by the New York State DEC prior to inspection includes:
- One pair of Aylmeri jesses and anklets
- One swivel appropriate for the raptor species
- One leash
- One bath container larger than the raptor
- A scale accurate to .5 ounces
- One outdoor perch
- One indoor perch
Most of this equipment is easy to make or easy to purchase. Everything that I did not make myself I bought from Northwoods Falconry Supplies. The delivery was quick and the quality was great.
These are the Aylmeri style jesses that get threaded through the grommets on the Aylmeri anklets. Many falconers like to put long slits in the end of each jess, but my sponsor prefers to use a small hole because it prevents tearing. The jesses, along with the leash, are what the falconer holds and secures to his or her glove when holding the bird on the fist.
These are the Aylmeri anklets that are secured around the raptor’s ankles and hold the jesses to the bird. The grommets, shown on the right, are attached using a grommet tool through the holes in the anklet to secure the anklet around the bird. The jesses are then slipped through the grommet. The Aylmeri styles jesses are safer because if the bird is lost, the jesses have the ability to fall from the anklets and there is a far smaller chance of the bird getting hung up or caught on a branch.
These are two examples of swivel setups: the first is the type my sponsor uses, which is a fishing swivel with a locking hook on one end that goes through the holes on the jesses. The second is a swivel that i made, modeled after an example I found in a falconry handbook. It is a little bulkier and a little more complicated than the other swivel, but it still functions.
This is a leash that my sponsor had as an extra and gave to me to use. This leash is about 44 inches long and is made of braided bungee material, so that it gives if the bird tries to fly away and it won’t injure itself by jerking on the leash. It has a button on one end so that it can be slipped through the swivel without having to be tied and can easily be removed.
My sponsor let me use this spare bath pan that he had lying around. He made it from the bottom of a water drum that he cut off. The pan is a good size and is pretty deep. Many of the bathpans you find online are either too small or too ridiculously priced, and this was neither. In addition, he took a piece of rough garden hose, split it open, and ran it around the edge of the bathpan. This allows the bird to cope itself, or trim its beak and talons, on the side of the bath. In the 19 years that he has had his Goshawk, he has never had to cope it because he provides it with a rough surface to do the coping itself.
This is the scale I purchased. The scale is definitely the piece of equipment I rely on most on a day-to-day basis and without it, all my training is useless. It is small and lightweight, accurate to 1 gram or .01 ounces, runs off 2 AA batteries, and came with a hard case to make it safely transportable. I ordered it from Northwoods Falconry; it wasn’t super cheap but it certainly wasn’t expensive as far as scales go and the perch feature is very helpful.
I built this perch myself, and it was actually fairly easy to do. I bought some 4-ply plywood and a piece of 2″x8″ from the local building supply store, cut out a piece of plywood that was about 16″ across and about 18″ or 20″ long, cut a piece of 2″x8″ that was about 14″ long, and bolted it into the plywood running parallel to the 16″ side. I then took some astroturf my sponsor had and cut out a small piece and tacked it onto the top of the 2″x8″. I also bought a welded ring with an anchor and bolted that into the 2″x8″. The whole thing then got bolted into the table in the mews, just in case.
I bought this perch from Northwoods Falconry online. It was marketed as an indoor/outdoor perch and it looked easy to move around and heavy, so I wouldn’t have to bolt it down and I could take it with me somewhere if i needed to. It has been incredibly reliable so far, if a little dirty.
This giant hood is