Training a Bird of Prey
There are four distinct stages to training a bird of prey. They may overlap at times.
This is making the bird used to humans. It is achieved by spending as much time as possible with the bird sitting on the glove and by feeding it on the hand. A successfully manned bird will jump to the glove to receive its food.
Training the bird to come to you is initially done with the bird attached to a long line, or creance. The objective is to get it to come to you when it is called, being rewarded with food when it does. Beginning with a short line, the flying distance is gradually increased until the bird flies some distance for food.
When the bird achieves this consistently, it is released from the line and flown free. Taking the plunge and releasing a bird from the line for the first time is probably the most nerve racking experience the falconer has. Food is still used as the temptation at this stage
A properly trained bird may follow the falconer through the countryside, with or without food as a reward.
During manning and training, a bird is not flying much and its muscles are not fully developed. Regular flying is required to build strength, stamina and fitness. Monitoring the birds weight is also crucial as an overfed bird will not want to fly for food or reward, whereas an under fed bird will not be strong enough to fly well.
4. Hunting and Displaying
Only if a bird is well manned, trained and is fit can it be used for hunting – or show itself off well in the demonstration ring.