Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Glossary of Falconry Terms

Glossary of Falconry Terms

Hopefully this glossary of falconry terminology will be of help to aspiring falconers to whom these terms often seem like learning a different language. And also, maybe a little help to those of us who have been involved in falconry for some time, but just can't seem to remember.


Accipiter- A short-winged hawk identified by short, rounded wings, long tail and light eyes, primarily hawks of the forest. These include the goshawk, the sharp-shinned hawk, and the Cooper's hawk.

Aboreal- Frequenting trees.

Aspergillosis- A form of fungus infection, leading to lethal inflammation of the lungs. A fungal (mold) disease of the respiratory tract, specifically the air sacs and lungs. Insidious in onset, difficult to treat, and nearly always fatal.

Austringer- (1) One who flies a short-winged hawk. (2) One who keeps and hunts shortwings and broadwings.

Aylmeri jesses- A modern variant of the restraints used to control raptors. The Aylmeri jess consists of three parts: anklets, bracelets or cuffs which are fitted around the hawk's tarsus, mews jesses with a swivel slit which are fitted whenever the hawk is tethered, and slitless field jesses which are fitted whenever the hawk is flown free. Aylmeris are required by law.


Bagged quarry- Some live animal let out freely for the hawk to chase. Normally used only when entering or when a natural quarry is very scarce, to ensure the hawk will get a flight.

Bal-chatri- A wirw cage trap fitted with slip nooses made from monofilament fishing line. Baited with a bird or mammal and placed in view of a wild hawk, it serves as a trap in which neither raptor nor bait is injured.

Bate, to- The wild jumping off and beating of wings in which most hawks indulge at one time or another, while still held to perch, block, or fist. May be caused by wildness, fright, boredom, temper, or at the lure or quarry.

Beam feathers- The long feathers of a hawk's wing, also called the "primaries".

Bells- Small bells, usually of brass, nickel or stainless steel. Bells are attached to a hawk's leg by a bewit, to the Aylmeri bracelet, to the tail on a tail mount, or around the neck on a halsband. The bells alert the falconer to the bird's location in the field.

Bewits- Short thin strips of light leather by which bells are fastened to the legs.

Bind, to- Seizing quarry or lure with the feet in a tight, clamped-on hold.

Bird hawk- A hawk that preys mainly on other birds.

Block- A wooden or concrete perch with a padded top; it tapers from the top to the bottom, and at the bottom end is a spike which ca be driven into the ground.

Blood feathers- New feathers not yet fully grown, whose shafts contain blood at the top.

Bloom- A mantle of gray sheen which protects the hawk's back feathers, keeping it waterproof.

Blue hawk- A peregrine in adult plummage.

Bob- Up and down movement of the head made by longwings when especially interested in something.

Bownet- A trap made of a semicircular bar (of light tubular aluminum or wood) over which is stretched netting, used for trapping raptors.

Bowse, to- Drinking by a hawk.

Brace- The leather straps or braces whereby a hood is loosened or tightened.

Brail- A long soft leather strap with a three or four inch slit in the middle and used to restrain a wild hawk. One wing is held in the slit and the two ends of the brail tied about the bird so that the other wing is free. The brail prevents bating and calms restlessness.

Brancher- A young raptor capable of testing its wings by hopping from branch to branch in its nesting tree, but has not yet successfully flown and it is still fed by its parents.

Break in- The act of breaking through a kill's skin, usually starting at the soft underbelly.

Brooding- Parental sitting on or over the young, as opposed to sitting on the eggs.

Brown hawk- A term used to describe an immature peregrine.

Broadwinged hawks- The vernacular name for the species of Buteo or Parabuteo, the soaring hawks. Usually described as having large core wings and a short, stubby tail.

Bumblefoot- An infection in the bottom of a hawk's foot. It is difficult anf time-consuming to cure and can cripple or kill a hawk.


Cadge- A portable perch used for carrying hawks in the field.

Call off- A training exercise in which the hawk is placed on and called from successive perches while the falconer walks from place to place.

Carry- (1) To fly off with quarry; said of a hawk. (2) To walk with a hawk on one's fist; to carry a hawk.

Cast, a- Two or more hawks flown together at a difficult quarry.

Cast, to- (1) To propel a hawk forward off the fist ot get it airborne. (2) The act of disgorging a pellet of the undigested parts of a meal - fur, feathers, bone, etc. (3) To hold a hawk in a cloth between the hands for imping, putting jesses on, etc.

Casting- An ovoid wad of indigestible fur, feathers, bone fragments, snake scales, and the like, seperated from meat in the hawk's stomach, bound together by the superfluous mucus in it's stomach and regurgitated some hours after eating.

Cere- The bare, waxy area between the beak nad crown of a bird.

Check, to- To change from one quarry to another during flight, or to hesitate because of sighting another quarry.

Clutch- The normal number of eggs laid and simultaneously incubated by a female during nesting.

Condition- Most often refers to the weight of the bird relative to flying weight. The hawk is in high condition when it is fat, and in low condition when it is too thin.

Cope- To trim or cut back and re-shape overgrown claws, talons or beak.

Crabbing- When a hawk seizes another, either by mistake when with another on a quarry or on purpose when quarreling or fighting.

Creance- A light line attached to the swivel of a partially-trained hawk before it is allowed to fly free.

Crines- The short hair-like feathers about the cere.

Crop- The vascular sac above the breast bone where food is first stored as soon as swallowed. It permits rapid ingestion of a large amount of food which is later digested slowly.

Crossing flight- When some other bird flies between the hawk and the quarry it is pursuing.


Deck feathers- The two center and dorsal-most feathers of a hawk's tail.

Dho-gazza- A square or rectangular net of various dimensions suspended vertically next to a live bird. It is secured loosely so that it drops over a hawk that attacks the bait. A trap from the Middle-East.

Diurnal- Active during the day.

Downwind- Flying with the wind.

Draw, to- (1) To draw a hawk from the mews is to take it up for the first time after it has completed it's moult. (2) To draw the hood is to tighten the braces which keep the hood on.


Enseam- the act of cleansing or purging a hawk of unwanted fat, after a period of idleness, and so make it ready to fly. The process of ridding the hawk of it's internal fat at the end of the moult.

Enter, entering- The setting up of a situation whereby a raptor in training is sure to be able to catch a kind of quarry new to it.

Eyass- A hawk taken from the nest: a nestling. If taken from the nest for falconry, it is always described thereafter as an eyass, as opposed to grown birds trapped during their first passage in life.

Eyrie- The hawk's nest, or place where the eggs are laid if she has not built a proper nest.


Falconry- The taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat, using trained birds of prey.

Feak, to- When a hawk cleans its beak on its perch after feeding, wiping it briskly back and forth.

Feed-up, to- When a hawk is fed above flying weight to start moulting, in preparation to release, routine feeding at the end of the day, or some other activity.

Fetch,to- When a longwing gets up to its quarry and turns it, or starts to work it, it fetches it.

Fist- A vernacular term for the falconer's gloved and protected hand.

Fistbound- A hawk that does not hunt wild quarry.

Flags- The secondary feathers in the wing, lying next to the primaries.

Fledge, to- The achievement of flying for the first time.

Fledgling- A young hawk that has only recently learned how to fly and is still dependent upon its parents for food.

Flight feathers- The main feathers used in flight, the primaries and secondaries.

Flush, to- The act of causing game, quarry, or prey to bolt from cover.

Flying weight- The weight at which the hawk is healthy enough to fly and hunt, yet sufficiently hungry to respond to the falconer's control and to any quarry that is flushed.

Foot, to- (1) A hawk foots its quarry when it clutches it with intent to kill. (2) One of several manifestations of eyass aggression toward their falconer.

Free-lofted- When the hawk is allowed free flight in the hawk-house as opposed to being tethered.

Fret marks- Also called stress marks. Usually found on the tail of a raptor are generally thought to mark a point in feather growth when there was prolonged nutritional or psychological stress.

Frounce- A canker or sore in the mouth and throat, usually seen as a colored coating on the tongue. A disease of the upper digestive tract usually contracted from eating infected pigeons and doves. It is easily and very quickly cured by oral administration of Flagyl.

Full-summed- At the end of the moult, when all the feathers which are going to be renewed that year are completely grown out. The feathers are no longer in blood.