Glossary of falconry terms

ACCIPITER. The Latin name for a genus of raptors, the "short winged hawks" of classic falconry, such as goshawks or Cooper's.

BATE. To flutter off the fist or perch; an abortive attempt to fly when the bird is restrained by the leash.


BIND. To grab and hold onto quarry (or volunteers) with the feet.


BLOCK. A perch for a longwing, usually wood.


BLOOD FEATHERS. New feathers not yet fully grown, whose shafts contain blood at the top.


BRACELET. A leather strap fastened around the leg of a raptor, through which a jess is threaded.


BRACES. Leather straps used to open or close the hood.


BRANCHER. A young bird of prey which has left the nest, but is still learning to fly and is fed by its parents.


BUMBLEFOOT. A bacterial corn in the ball of the foot or toes that causes swelling.


BUTEO. The Latin name for a genus of raptors; the buzzards of classic falconry. In North American, redtailed hawks, etc.


CAST. Two hawks flown together, or To hold a hawk for imping, attaching furnishings, etc.


CASTING. The indigestible portions of the last meal of a raptor, usually bone and feathers that are formed into a compact pellet and disgorged through the mouth.


CERE. The bare, wax-like skin above the beak.


COPE. Cutting back or shortening either the beak or talons of a raptor.


CRAB, CRABBING. When hawks seize each other, either in the air or on the ground.


CREANCE. A light line attached to the swivel of a partly trained hawk before she is allowed to fly loose.


CROP. The vascular sac above the sternum in which the diurnal raptors first receive and store food before passing it on to the stomach.


CROP, PUT OVER. The action of a raptor, when by movements of the neck and shoulders it forces food from the crop into the stomach.


DECK FEATHERS. The two central feathers of the tail.


DIURNAL. Day-time hunter.


EYASS. A nestling, or young hawk taken from the nest.


FALCON. Originally referred to the female of the "long winged" hawks (genus Falco); now applied to any species and either sex of the genus.


FEAK. The action of a raptor of wiping the beak against the perch or the glove after feeding.

FLIGHT FEATHERS. The main feathers used in flight, the primaries.


FOOT, TO. To strike with the feet, and clutch or bind.


FROUNCE. A disease of the mouth and throat of birds, most common in pigeons, doves, and raptors. Shows up as a coating on the mouth, tongue and crop.


FULLY SUMMED. When a hawk has got all her new feathers after moulting.


HACK BACK. To offer support to a hawk being released back to the wild.


HAGGARD. A hawk in mature plumage.


HARD PENNED. When the new feathers are fully grown and the shafts have hardened off to a quill.


HOOD. A close-fitting leather cap used to cover the head and eyes of a hawk.


IMP. A method of repairing broken flight feathers by replacing the broken portion with part of another feather.


IMPRINT. A learned process which defines the identity of a bird to that which it sees when its eyes first focus. Imprinted birds cannot survive in the wild and do not breed naturally.


INTERMEWED. A hawk which has moulted in captivity.


JESSES. Leather straps attached to the legs (tarsi) of a trained raptor.

AYLMERI JESS - A leather bracelet with grommet and jess.


KNURL. A leather knot made at the end of a leash or aylmeri jess.


LURE. An imitation bird or animal used to entice the hawk in training.


MAN, TO. To tame a hawk by accustoming her to people's presence.


MANTLE, TO. To stand over a kill or food with wings lowered and spread out to hide the food.


MEW. The building or room in which hawks are kept.


MUTES. The excrement of hawks.


NARES. The nostrils of a hawk.


PASSAGE. The migration of hawks. Also, a bird taken during its first migration is called a "Passage bird."


PLUMAGE. The feathers of a hawk.


PLUME. To pluck the feathers off the quarry.


PREEN. Straightening and dressing the feathers by running them through the beak; one of the signs of contentment and good adjustment in a trained raptor.


RAPTOR. Bird of prey. Comes from the Latin for "To seize."


ROUSE. To raise the feathers slightly before shaking the plumage back into position.


SECONDARIES. The flight feathers of the wing, between the body and the primaries.


SHAFT. The central hollow strut of a feather, giving it support.


SLICE. The action employed by eagles, hawks, and vultures of evacuating mutes.


SOAR. The riding of thermals or updrafts by a bird.


STOOP. The rapid descent of a longwing from a height, at quarry or the lure, with wings nearly closed.


SWIVEL. Mechanical device attached to jesses and leash to reduce a bird's entanglement when moving about.


TIDBITS. Small pieces of meat used to reward or entice a raptor in training or performing.


TIERCEL. The male peregrine, from the French "tierce," meaning third. The term is often used for the male of any species of hawk.


TIRING. A tough piece of meat given to a hawk to pull at, in order to prolong the meal and exercise the muscles of the back and neck.


WARBLE. To stretch both wings upwards over the back till they nearly touch and, at the same time, to spread the tail.


WEATHER. Placing a raptor in the open air in good weather.


WEATHERING YARD. The area where the hawks are kept on perches.