Raptor & Falconry Terminology

Bating :
Attempting to fly from the fist or perch, while still attached. This can happen if the bird is startled, upset, fearful or impatient to be flying.

Bumblefoot :
A condition of the foot, usually in the form of 'corns' or ulcerations on the bottom of the foot. This can be caused by (amongst other things) poor hygiene, unsuitable perches or piercing of the bottom of the foot by the talons. The condition can be fatal, as raptors are dependent on their feet for their food. It is an especial problem during very cold weather, as it can lead to further problems if their feet get cold.

Casting :
Bringing up the indigestible material that has been eaten (e.g. fur, bones & feathers), in pellet form. This is normally done once or twice a day. The stomachs of the hawks & falcons are much more acidic than those of owls, enabling them to digest even the bones of the prey which are left in the pellets of owls.

Coping :
Trimming the beak of hawks & falcons. This would normally take place naturally in the wild, through eating tough prey and stropping the beak clean on stones (feaking) after eating. The beak is trimmed & filed carefully, removing excessive overhang of the front of the beak & retaining any notches.

Eyas, Eyass, Nyass :
Originally a term for a young bird taken from the nest for training, it is often used to describe a young bird whose training is incomplete. See also passage & haggard.

Falcon :
In falconry, the term falcon refers specifically to a female Peregrine falcon.

Footing, Footy :
Footing is the action of the hawk taking her quarry with her feet. It is often used to refer to some birds habit of attacking the falconer (quite often the ungloved hand) with her foot. A bird is said to be 'footy' if it has this habit. The action is quite often defensive, sometimes it is aggressive and deliberate.

Haggard Hawk/Falcon :
A term used to describe a bird captured from the wild, often on migration, whilst in its mature plumage, with the intent to train the bird for falconry. See also eyass & passage.

Imping :
This is the procedure of repairing broken or damaged primary & tail feathers. An imping needle, or small thin piece of wood, such as a cocktail stick, is inserted into the shaft of the feather & the rest of the feather glued into place. It is usual practice to retain primary & tail feathers during the moult, so that they can be used for imping, in the event that the original feather is lost or unrepairable. The word is derived from the Old English word "impian", meaning to implant or graft.

Imprinting :
This is the term used for describing what happens when very young birds are raised in the company of humans. They come to accept humans as their parents & source of food. For some birds this may be done deliberately, it is quite often the accidental result of taking a bird from her parents at too young an age. An imprinted bird is often referred to as an 'imprint'.

Manning :
'Taming' a bird by carrying on the fist. This is the first stage of training for the bird, getting used to sitting on the gloved fist of the falconer. Manning continues throughout the birds life. It is getting & keeping the bird accustomed to the proximity of people, which by nature, they do not like.

Mantle :
The action of a bird spreading her wings, fanning her tail & arching over her prey, so hiding it from other predators, including other birds. From Old English/Norse for cloak. (See mantelpiece).

Passage Hawk/Falcon :
A term used to describe a bird captured from the wild, often on migration, whilst still in its immature plumage, with the intent to train the bird for falconry. In America, the birds used in falconry are often passage hawks. See also eyass & haggard.

Tiercel, Tassel, Tercel :
In falconry, this refers specifically to a male Peregrine falcon.

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