The cruelty of falconry and bird shows


Today I spotted a birds of prey show and it made me so sad and angry. A group of people gathered round to watch a falconry show and didn’t seemed unfazed by the tethered, shivering birds. Some people may find these shows harmless and entertainment but I can’t help but condemn the treatment of these animals. These birds are wild and should be kept so, not kept chained and tethered., unable to fly free and soar the skies that is the birthright of every bird, These creatures belong in the wild.

The first bird I spotted was an eagle, it looks cold, and miserable with it’s legs chained to the post. This magnificent creature was getting wet in the rain and had an unmistakable look of sadness in it’s eyes. I didn’t manage to get a picture of this poor creature as by the second time I went up for pictures it had been moved.

This bird is wearing something called a hood that is used for keeping the animals ‘calm’ and ensure the the bird is alert when the falconer needs it, it basically covers their eyes.
This device looks restrictive and uncomfortable and more like a torture device than something used to keep the bird calm.



This cute little owl was shivering, and according to a little research owls are strongly recommended not to be the tethered, it’s even frowned upon in the falconry online community. This owl was swaying from one foot to the other it looked like it was either uncomfortable or cold.


Three more birds were in an open enclosement, getting wet on from the rain, according to the welfare guidelines these birds should be kept out of these weather conditions.

This is a practice that goes back far in history and was a very popular sport in medieval Europe, a time where human and animal cruelty was rife, giving more indication that falconry is something that should be left in the past. Falconry is illegal in some parts of the world and I wish this was widespread.

PETA condemns falconry as does as does The League Against Cruel Sports that believes that in the interest of raptor welfare no further licenses should be issued and that this blood sport should be banned.

What are your opinions on falconry? Should it be banned?

58 thoughts on “The cruelty of falconry and bird shows

      1. I understand this i love animals but what if they were just bad falconers yes they shouldn’t have left them in the rain but there is a reason falcons will return to people they are a good source of food a bird is lucky for 1 out of 8 hunts to work LUCKY and red tail hawks only 80 to 90% make it threw their first winter. Falconers are usually good people wanting to help the birds just saying you dont have to agree.🕊


    1. Almost everything in this article is skewed. Id reccomend watching an actual documentary on this before believing something you read online.


    1. Its not if you agree with birds being chained up, and taken out off their natural enviroment and being left in the rain shivering. Just seeing the birds you could tell they were unhappy. All those factors equal cruelty to me and I’m sure many others agree with me.


      1. No, no, just no.

        You clearly have absolutely no clue about raptor biology, husbandry or raptor psychology.

        First, you keep using weasel words such as “chained up” and “shivering”.
        They’re not “chained”, falconers don’t use “chains”. Maybe in some third world country you might see that. But I’ve never seen a modern falconer use any sort of chain.

        Second, you say they are taken out of their natural environment where they live in some areas that reach temperatures below 0 degrees yet you post this in AUGUST and say they are shivering and cold in the middle of the day. You’re also completely wrong about birds being left outside, it’s called “weathering”. Being exposed to sun and rain is good for the birds mental health, physical health and feather health. Now, they shouldn’t be constantly exposed to excessive heat without cover or excessive rain to the point that they are literally soaked. But being rained on is perfectly natural and healthy. I have also never seen a raptor exposed to the outdoors shiver.

        Third, you don’t know the first thing about what a happy/sad raptor looks like. Raptors always look pissed off. You see a wild bird on a tree branch, it looks pissed. There are some things you can look for in a bird that is content. One thing is called a rouse. That is when the bird fluffs up it’s feathers and shakes. Another thing is when a bird is standing on one foot with the other tucked in.

        Fourth, hoods work differently on birds than the do people. If you put a hood over me or you we’d freak out. Rightly so. Raptors on the other hand experience something different. The hood goes on and they think they are hidden. It’s dark and if they cant see you, you can’t see them and the relax.

        None of what you said about that stuff is accurate. The owls might be a bit unhappy being perched out there near hawks and falcons though because they often try to kill each other in the wild. I’ve also heard some don’t recommend tethering for owls but I don’t know much about that for owls.

        Something you probably don’t understand being British and seeing a different falconry than what is practiced in the US; Many species have a mortality rate of about 70% in the wild. That means out of 100 birds, (the common buzzard for example, if it’s rates are similar to our red-tail), 70 of those 100 will be dead before they reach one year of age, breeding age. 70 out of those 100 will not live to a breeding age. After five years, it’s estimated that only five out of that 100 will still be alive.
        In the US falconers can take passage birds (birds less than one year). Statistically the bird taken is a bird that likely would have died. The falconer then mans and then trains the bird and then hunts with it for a season. This gives the bird an extra chance at life. It gives the bird more experience hunting. Typically passage birds are released after a year or two of hunting and it goes back to the wild much more fit for survival than if it had not been captured. The falconer then repeats the process.

        The bird is also very well cared for while captive. This idea that they are always “chained” is very very false. Falconers try to exercise and hunt their birds as often as possible and feed them the best diet they can. Imagine being an athlete and spending your time sitting on the couch eating chips. You’ll not be fit to race. It works the same with the bird. You need a bird that is fed well and exercised regularly. This means free flying.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raptors in Europe used in shows are captive bred. Just like your normal parrot. These birds are fed high quality diets, and are flown free without being tethered in most cases. They also get better medical care than most of your dogs or cats. Are there bad people in the falconry community, yes, but there are bad in any community.


      3. You have no clue what you’re talking about. If it wasn’t for falconers some of these magnificent bird would no longer exist in the wild. In fact the birds have a much safer life when being flown by a falconer and they could fly off any time they want, but they don’t. Perhaps we should ban having dogs and cats? Perhaps maybe you should do some research before forming an opinion of something you know nothing about.


      4. I do not agree with anything you have said. First of all, those hoods are fitted to each bird so that they are comfortable and keep the birds calm. They are not chained up. They are TETHERED, there’s a difference! They do fly free! They hunt with the help of humans to make it easier for them. And they aren’t shivering. They look like it because they are relaxed. And I think I know more about this than you do, I am a falconer and a can tell you that falconry is completely humane and actually helps improve survival rates in raptors.


    1. Many things are cruel and arent banned so that doesnt mean much. Foie gras for instance can be found in resturants all over the country yet the way its obtained is very cruel. Although i do agree this particular bird show breached many rules of falconry, its still not something i agree with and the league against cruel sports even condemns this practice and deem it to be cruel.


      1. Just give us a gift for Christmas. Your silence. You’re an uneducated person stirring up a very small group of underrepresented people that give everything they have to birds of prey. You know nothing.
        We don’t come to your place of peace and throw eyeliner in the garbage. Don’t challenge ours.


      2. They are tethered so they don’t follow you around begging you for food. Raptors have huge appetites and won’t stop looking for food, even if they aren’t hungry. They also might be vulnerable to predators if they leave their perch, which they will. You can’t tell a bird to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Raptors remain wild creatures through falconry. They hunt and fly free. The only difference is that they are guaranteed food, shelter, and water.


    1. I appreciate that but I’m afraid we will never share the same opinion but thank you for sharing yours, it seems we have experienced falconry shows differently although I did read that the falconry community condemn many techniques this particular falconry show displayed, however I personally dont agree with this practice as i believe birds of prey should be allowed to fly free and not spend the majority of their lives with hoods on their heads and tethered to polls.


      1. 67% in the wild don’t make it to 1 year old. Perhaps you should think about that when you start targeting falconers that will give that bird everything it needs medically/nutritionally/mentally.


  1. Just because I have not used the correct term for ‘ perch’ doesnt mean i havent researched this topic. Before I deem something as cruel I ensure I research it and research it from both sides in this case from anti animal cruelty organisations and the falconry community and I still find this ‘ sport’ cruel. I dont believe in using animals for sport full stop. Even if I hadnt have researched into falconry I still witnessed first hand the effect falconry had on these birds and the conditions they are kept in. My blog features heavily on stopping animal cruelty, so any cruel animal sport will not be seen as exceptable by me and i will write about any animal injustances I feel need to be addressed. You obviously feel very strongly about this subject but so do I and my opinion will not be changed.


      1. If someone mistreats their horse then they shouldnt be allowed to own them. I do think horse racing should be banned as many horses are hurt during the race, especially over the jumps and many of the horses are disgarded when they become unraceable or if the breeding standards arent up to scratch and that horse doesnt meet the requirements. Again another prime example of animal sports being cruel and not considering the welfare of the animal.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s quite apparent you did not research it.

      “Even if I hadnt have researched into falconry I still witnessed first hand the effect falconry had on these birds”

      Did you know falconers are largely responsible for preventing our peregrine from going extinct?


    2. Make sure u never put your dog on a leash, that would be cruel. They are bred to run free.

      Using animals for sport…..

      Instead of looking st it as “using animals for sport” why don’t u look at it, as, assisting animals to do what they naturally do.

      Using dogs to hunt and track, is something dogs originally did before years of humans breeding it out of them.

      Using birds of prey to hunt, is using their natural abilility hunt. Raptors have one goal in life, to eat. And to eat, means to hunt.

      So, ur upset that, falconers get to watch this beautiful animals in their natural ability, hunting…..


    1. curlswaveszigzags you are an idiot these birds are there becauase of us humans. without our help most birds in falconry woulld dead and if people lliiygot there way we miht as well be ating echother to get to our primal instinctss and jade if horses step in a praried dog hole in the wild and break their leg they will suffer till’ death but with humans there population is not only higher than if the horses where all wild but we are the reason most die PEASFULLY instead of miserable like you want


  2. So I just happened to stumble across this and feel like I have a moral duty to point some things out to you, in a totally non-confrontational way. More so in the way of educating you a bit about falconry. Please read this, and engage me in some meaningful conversation because I truly wish to broaden your perspective here. It may be a little lengthy but please please please hear me out 🙂

    I 100% understand your view point, I myself advocate against cruelty and the use of animals for sport. However, I don’t think you fully understand what falconry really is at its core.

    Unfortunately you may have stumbled across a poorly run falconry display, which is too common. It shouldn’t happen at all. I’m not sure how I feel about falconry being adapted into entertainment, i.e. flight displays, because that’s not really what it is. More often than not, people who focus on doing just flight displays with their birds don’t know what they’re doing 100% and often do abuse their birds directly or indirectly in some way. HOWEVER, THIS IS NOT FALCONRY! (there do exists bird shows run by people who do know what they’re doing. These are done to educate the public about raptors, especially children, so they develop an appreciation for this part of the global ecosystem (predators)).

    First, I want to kindly correct some of the statements you made in your post.

    1) Captive birds are not in any way “chained”, and are not unable to fly. They are tethered yes, but with very light and very soft leather jesses that can’t harm them in any way. Birds that are kept by falconers are regularly exercised and given the chance (often hours upon hours, which is plenty of time for them) to fly every single day. In the wild, and I stress this A LOT, raptors DO NOT just fly around all day! They actually sit for the majority of their waking hours in trees or wherever, resting and waiting to spot prey. The only time they expend energy is if it’s mating season, or they’ve been waiting too long without spotting any prey so they’ll soar for a little bit. Birds of prey have extremely intense metabolisms, so unless they know for sure they’re going to get a meal out of their exercise, chances are they’re going to stay put. They can’t afford to waste energy.

    2) Birds used for falconry are largely not taken out of the wild, and are therefore not being removed from their natural habitat. At one point they were, but now, about 80-90% of falconry birds are captive bred and raised. They’ve never known the wild. Which, in a way, I agree is sad. However, when birds are trapped from the wild in the fall, they are taught to hunt by a falconer and are later released in the spring. It’s a fact that here in North America, about 70% of red tailed hawks die before they’re even a year old. There are various reasons for this that you can look up yourself. When a falconer is able to take a juvenile red tailed hawk from the wild, and give it the chance to develop proper and successful hunting skills over the winter, it is released back into the wild with these skills and are able to survive in a way they wouldn’t have been able to before.

    3) Hoods are not restrictive and are not torture devices. Again, the material they’re made of is very soft and actually very loose. When a hood is tied to a bird’s head, it’s not done very tightly at all. No falconer wants to hurt their bird. A hood is only used in falconry when a bird needs to be kept calm, because they can become very stressed in strange environments. In this way, hoods do these birds that are kept by poor handlers a service. They’re similar to peripheral vision blinds that are used on cart horses.

    4) I assure you that rain does not phase a bird of prey, no matter how cold or pathetic it looks. Do you not think these birds would be rained on in the wild..? They’re highly insulated against the temperature rain brings and are not in away way “tortured” by it.

    5) The swaying back and forth exhibited by the owls is a behaviour they do in order to help them visually focus on objects better. Their physiology does not allow them to move their eye sockets, which is also why they can swivel their heads around. The rocking side to side on the feet allows them to move their bodies and heads more in slightly different positions, again, to help them focus on objects better.

    6) Falconry is illegal in many places because people abuse it. Is driving evil because some people drink and drive, and hurt others? No. For example, in the Yukon (Canada) falconry is illegal because in the 1970’s people were taking too many birds out of the wild and exploiting them. This law hasn’t been updated with current falconry practices because there aren’t enough people living in this province to warrant change. However, in the majority of North America, falconers take avid part in biodiversity sustainability and raptor conservation. So, it is legal.

    7) Falconry is in no way a blood sport. Falconers do not hunt for sport like big game hunters do (something I absolutely hate). Falconry is a totally different type of hunting altogether, because the game caught is not done in excess or greed, and it goes to the bird. I personally do not like killing – I’m like you in that I believe life is precious and animals are better off left alone, untouched by humans. However, I also recognize that predator-prey relationships are absolutely fundamental to the very fabric of life, of ecosystems. Falconry is simply what would happen in the wild any way, except that a human is giving a bird of prey chances to excel and get ahead with its hunting skills that it would not have in the wild. The only birds of prey in the wild that you see are the 30% which some how manage to luck out with the process of natural selection.

    I hope these points make sense to you, you don’t seem like an unintelligent person. I really do value your perspective, because like I said I’m against animal cruelty and human ignorance as well. However, I think you just haven’t had the opportunity to learn about the true essence of falconry.

    PLEASE look up Mongolian falconry, I think you would benefit from learning about it.

    (One more thing I want to say, sort of a food for thought, is that falconry birds who are kept with love and appreciation choose to stay with their human counterparts. I know a girl who trained a wild red tailed hawk, kept it for 2 years, and after releasing it, it came back to her after being on its own for about 3 months. She had seen it hunting, living, doing its thing, but it knew it had an upper hand over other wild birds by being able to hunt with a human being.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting and providing so much information.
      I 100% agree that this particular bird show was very badly run and as I did state in my post the falconry community online does even condemn some of this groups practices such as the tethering of owls.

      To reply to your comments:

      1. Unfortunately although I did see some of these birds with leather jesses and can appreciate these might be very soft, the Eagle that I didn’t manage to take a picture of was indeed chained up literally with thick chains.
      It was also very interesting to read that birds of pray do like to stay put to not waste energy.

      2. As I’m from Britian these birds, particularly the Eagle will certainly not be released into the wild but I can appreciate this is a practice that is done in North America and can be beneficial to the bird.

      3. The hoods just looked very restrictive and it was quite shocking to me as I’m obviously far from a falconry expert, it did look rather unsettling.

      4/5. I did not know this but I did go on information regarding falconry practice that birds should not be kept in bad weather conditions so this is how I came to that conclusion.

      6. That makes perfect sense to me as this show I witnessed proved that some bird keepers go about this the wrong way and I feel this particular group did not keep their birds as well as they should and unfortunately I can imagine other birds will suffer much worse abuse at the hands of some sick individuals but can understand this is not the case with all participating in falconry.

      7. If the pray hunting is for the benefit of the bird then although this is not something I could personally participate in directly, I can’t condemn it as its essential to the animals survival and natural instincts.

      Thank you again, you really have educated me on this subject and glad you approach the defence of falconry with animal welfare heavily in mind.
      I’m going to edit this post to clear up any misinformed opinions I had before reading your comment and I will look up Mongolian Falconry as suggested.


      1. Thank you so much! I appreciate the fact that you’re open minded. It’s too bad that this show you saw was so poorly run. I wish I could show you, and any other individuals who have had a bad experience with falconry because of poor animal husbandry, what proper falconry looks like when the birds are the #1 priority. Although you’re not a hunting person, I think you might still find the concept of Mongolian falconry interesting. It’s a massive part of their culture and way of life 🙂


      2. Hi Jade,

        No wonder you had the experience you did! To my knowledge, there are few, if any, regulations governing falconry in Great Britain. Indeed, I’ve seen crazy discussions on that particular falconry forum where it’s clear people want to buy birds who haven’t been properly licensed and trained. It’s really atrocious. But where I live, to be a falconer, one has to take a rather strenuous exam, given by the government, build an appropriate structure which must be inspected by the government at great expense to the new falconer, and that individual must be trained as an “apprentice” for at least two years by a Master Falconer – someone who has been hunting with birds of prey for at least 7 years. It is the most highly regulated art form/sport in this part of the world, and for good reason! Falconry is the art of training a bird of prey to allow us to be a part of what they do, naturally, which is hunt. My hawk is a very big part of my life – she lets me tag along while she hunts rabbits. I’ve had her for 11 years, and if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to tag along after her for the rest of my life! I hope this helps.


  3. I can understand your point but Falconer’s have helped save many from extinction. Take the peregrine, California condor. Also because of their help old wind farms that killed thousands of birds are removed. Many Falconer’s start with red tailed Hawks. 90% of them die the first year. After a falconer works with them on hunting they get released back into the wild to find a mate and live at most 5 more years. Conversely, Hawks live 35 years if kept with a human. It should also be said Falconers typically weigh their birds once a day to make sure they are healthy.
    While I agree not all people should be Falconers, there is something positive about Falconer’s showing birds of prey to students and the public. Many of these birds come from rehabilitation. Educational birds are birds that were Wild and found injured. Instead of killing them they use them to show why we need to protect their habitat and food sources from builders and poisons.


  4. Why do you ask for opinions if you are not open to genuine discussion? You are only looking for “yeah right!”s and “you go girl!”s. As for rain, what do you think happens to a hawk when it is in the wild?!? You yourself note it was light rain. And how can you possibly have seen the “miserable” look in its eye when it had a hood on, which you complain about in your next para? Your post is illogical and uneducated. As Dom notes, it is thanks to falconers that the toxic pesticide DDT was banned – but not before the Peregrine Falcon became extinct in the Eastern US. Get your facts before you start throwing stones.


  5. Falconry has been around for over four thousand years. I am a falconer with a red tailed hawk. I do agree that keeping the raptors for our personal entertainment is cruel and inhumane. However, this is not falconry. Falconry, in it’s true form, is hunting wild quarry in it’s natural state of habitat with a trained raptor. These people obviously do not hunt with their birds. Those birds are used as “education” and “demonstration” birds which I think is absolutely terrible. Raptors should be allowed to fly free if they are in these types of conditions. However, falconers have completely different jobs. A falconer’s job is to keep a bird safe and well fed, as well as allowing it to take part in it’s natural state. I, personally, hunt with my red tail at least six times a week, if not seven. Almost every day she gets flown freely without any tether, and is allowed to hunt while I am there merely assisting her to make her hunting job easier. In the wild, reds would just sit on a pole and wait for something to cross their path. My job is to show quarry to the bird and try and make it easier so the bird can catch it. I always allow my bird to fill up on the prey that she catches, as it ensures her to become a better and more confident hunter. Tethering birds is not cruel unless they are not exercised. I let my bird sit on a perch and “weather” which is basically allowing them to get natural sunlight and fresh air. I keep my bird in prime condition and make sure that she is safe, fit, and well fed. Falconers have been the conservationists of the world. If it wasn’t for falconers, then the peregrine falcon and bald eagle would be extinct forever. Falconers can take juvenile birds from the wild when they are inexperienced and very vulnerable and teach them to hunt and fend for themselves. Over 80% of juvenile red tailed hawks die in their first year. Thus, a falconer who traps a juvenile red tail is basically giving the hawk a second chance at life. These birds will be released after the falconer feels they are fit, strong, and smart enough to thrive on their own in the wild. I am releasing my red tailed hawk this March. Hooding a bird is also not cruel because it is just keeping the bird calm. The hood is not restraining on the bird at all, they just cannot see. The hood is secured by loose braces in the back which just hold the hood in place but do not touch any part of the bird’s skin. The hood is merely resting on feathers, which have little to no feeling, just like a person’s nails. I do agree, though, that fully functional raptors that are not being hunting is cruel, but that is not falconry. That is pet keeping. Raptors are wild animals and should not be kept as pets. A true falconer will not keep their bird as a pet. That is why they let their bird roam free. If the bird wants, it can fly away for good and not come back. But the bird chooses you above the wild because it knows you are a better and safer option than staying out in the wild and being vulnerable. I hope that I helped to change your view on falconry, but I agree that this particular case is mildly cruel (although I have seen much worse). Hopefully I explained the important differences between falconry and demo birds.
    Julia and Freya


    1. I agree with this entirely! I am trying to get a part time job at the Minnesota raptor center. I have all ways loved falconry


  6. Before condemning world heritage, be sure to research falconry and what it entails. It is a beautiful sport that has done more for raptor conservation than most “animal welfare” activists.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a 15 year old girl and today I am going to take the falconry test with my mom. We will (hopefully) be trapping birds this fall for falconry. I Have done much research on the topic of falconry. I am currently doing a project for my speech class on why falconry should continue to be legal and I stumbled across this post. I get why you don’t like falconry but I think you jumped the gun on it because after one experience you bashed the whole community of austringers (falconers). I have been studying falconry about a year now. Yes there are places like the one you saw that are cruel to the animals, but all the ones I know do it right and no harm come to the birds.

    This post did make me angry, but not at the so called cruel conditions the birds were in. I was angry at how uneducated you were when you posted this. People like you who see one bad person and assume everyone is like that give people false ideas on falconry. If you never saw someone own a dog before and saw someone simply yelling at their dog you would think that all dog owners are bad and no one should own one. However we know that dogs are great pets and love to be pets if conditions are good for them. The hawks used for falconry are not pets. They are partners. Our job as falconers is to help the bird survive because they would likely die before their first moult (one year). Yes it is very fun but that’s not the point of falconry. Falconry is defined as the partnership between man and hawk to hunt for the bird.

    I do understand that you were uneducated in the true meaning of falconry and that is why you said those things However the “chains” used are not chains. they are strips of leather. They do not hurt the bird. The hoods used are not cruel either. They are loose fitting and both physically and psychologically comfortable. They are to put the bird at ease. The weather that they endured out there are exactly the same if they were in the wild. The jesses (“chains”) do not magically change the weather conditions for them. If they were on the perch without them they would still get wet. Or even in a nearby tree they would still get wet. Also water isn’t bad for the birds. They have an oil on them called bloom to protect their feathers. Yes they could have been put up into the muse (house for hawks) but it wasn’t bad for them to be out. Most falconers are not mean or cruel to their birds. They love them and would never dream of hurting them. They are simply giving them their best chance.

    I hope that you are now educated on falconry. If you are still against falconry I get that. Lot of people are, but I’m not. I plan on being the best chance my bird has. I plan to help it survive and live a long life.


  8. Fascinating, it’s almost as if the writer has no concept of history, or understanding of falconry. These birds are neither pets nor display animals and are closer to a mutual trust and partnership that is beneficial for both hunter and bird. Furthermore if you had any actual interest in their welfare you would have likely done enough research to know this sport is heavily regulated both by federal and state laws and actively enforced to ensure their welfare comes first. It has to because before the introduction of animal protection legislation many domestic birds were nearing extinction until the Migratory Bird Act was enacted and falconers have been instrumental in ensuring the continued survival of raptors by making sure they are well taken care of and properly managed and introduced back to the wild. Before then peregrine falcons were nearing extinction, and now they are no longer threatened to the point they no longer need federal protection, though there are still strict federal and state laws prohibiting unprofessional and uneducated and unpermitted taking, ownership, killing, etc of domestic bird species.


  9. Many falcon and hawks were killed because of famers and hunters. Famers were tired of their chicken begin killed. Falconers are great rehabilitation peoples that take care of these birds when they are young so they can be more successful in the natural world

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Many falcon and hawks were killed because of famers and hunters. Famers were tired of their chicken begin killed. Falconers are great rehabilitation peoples that take care of these birds when they are young so they can be more successful in the natural world


  11. Wow. This whole post (especially the comments section) really helped me out. I’m currently writing a 2,000 words long essay about the question “Should Falconry be legal?”. There were a lot of points of views here, and each one was really well explained. Thank you all for helping me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How did your paper go? I am a falconer and of course on the pro falconry side. I honestly don’t see how anyone could think well regulated falconry could be evil.


  12. You have a very tender heart, but your presumptions about those birds and their feelings could not be further from the truth. Your thoughts are a clear sign that you have absolutely zero comprehension about:

    1) Falconry
    2) Game biology
    3) The necessity of birds to be kept in captivity (rehabilitation, pest abatement, species restoration through breeding projects, etc.)
    4) The feelings of captive raised, trained, or imprinted birds.
    5) The extreme hazards of surviving free in the wild (less than 1/4 survive into adulthood due to starvation, overpopulation, attacks from predators, disease, etc.)

    The birds in those photos are obviously very healthy, and they have nice leather jesses, not chains, which are used for quick release and reception of the bird to fly freely. Those birds all think that humans work for them while they live in the lap of luxury – well fed, attended to, exercised and medically treated…. They will live 10 x longer than their average wild counterpart.

    I’m sure you’re a nice person, but you should really read a book or visit with a falconer or zoologist before posting trash like this. You should instead write an article thanking falconers for:

    1) Their tireless dedication to restoring (and successfully saving) endangered species
    2) Their drive to help educate others for awareness and environment conservation
    3) The baby, injured or sick birds that they have saved through their expensive, time consuming, and voluntary rehabilitation efforts.
    4) Dedicating thousands of hours to care for and train birds that would not survive if left alone in the wild due to injury, imprinting on humans, etc.

    I hope you have the sense to see how offensive your post is to the good men and women who actually care the most for, and do the most for birds of prey.


  13. I have to disagree. If the birds are underfed and or mistreated then it should be stopped but how if this different from fish, reptiles and parrots. They are all wild and fish and snakes don’t form attachments. The birds are looked after and they don’t like flying for more than necessary . Flying for them isn’t fun it’s purely for food. This is also less stressful because if they don’t catch anything then they still get fed.


  14. Hello, I know how this show may look too someone who is unfamiliar about the sport, however falconry is nothing short of helpful to the birds. I had an aunt who believed the same thing and she was even studying to become a zoologist! The reason people do these shows are to help the public become informed about birds, many people fear birds which does not fare well for the people or the birds. These shows demonstrate that there is nothing in fact to be afraid of! Also the falconers do not keep the birds, we only keep them for around a year to make them stronger and help them grow. Most raptors only have less than 20% survival rate and taking care of them greatly helps them. Most birds would be extinct if not for falconers. Also I found a fair amount of this article seemed kind of harsh towards falconers, I have met many wonderful people in my practice who do not deserve to be subjected to that. A fair amount of these birds are also injured and saved by the falconers, who dedicate all their time and money (it’s not cheap!) to helping these birds recover, which sometimes they don’t recover enough to go back into the wild. Thus the falconer has to take care of the bird for the remainder of its life. If you really cared about raptors you would support falconry, it’s the only active help for these poor dying out birds and so many people shun it because they don’t know enough. Thank you for your time 🙂


    1. Also I forgot to add, that these animals are carefully monitored, if they start so much as losing some weight, they are cared for immediately. Also the ‘chains’ you refer to are just the tethers, they are there for human and bird protection, I can’t imagine what harm could happen if we had untethered birds near nervous people! They do not hurt the birds. The hood you referred to is just to keep the bird calm and alert, it’s normally used for hunting but could have been put on the bird for demonstration. Also the rain will not harm the birds whatsoever, in fact many love the rain! It’s normal for them, plus they get a little bath 🙂


  15. Please PeTA and everyone, let’s end this falconry evil. The falconers want to use this unfair method to kill beautiful gentle animals like jackrabbits and cottontails, both native species, and justify their bloodlust by calling them “prey”, “bottom of the food chain” and the like. Let’s STOP this violence against harmless wildlife and leave nature alone!


  16. yea no, as someone who works in this exact industry you need to base you info on more then one show, the birds i work with re not chained or shivering. my one of them cuddles in my coat, they are tethered for safety precautions because guess what there predator’s that will kill each other, they are not shivering from being cold, i was on a display when it was cold and I couldnt feel my figures u can slightly go under there wing and feel the warmth like they have been next to a radiator all day. you cant force a bird to do something it will do it if it wants to the owner of the birds has been stood at the bottom of trees with food for hours because the bird decided it just wanted to sit in a tree rather then fly. once u have had any experience keeping these birds or learning about them at all then u can talk, i bet if u experienced a barn owl getting exited to come sit on your lap and cuddle or a scopes owl who loved head pats and chin scratches so much he will demand them from you or even befriending a haw that once hated you to a point where you can pet its chest you would say differently, they are wild animals so are horses, cats, hamsters, and parrots doesn’t mean there life is horrible considering an eagle owl can live 50 years in captivity and only 20 in the wild. taht says something


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