The value of record keeping in falconry

June 23, 2016


It doesn't matter whether you are new to falconry (or bird training - splitting hairs but more on that later) or if you've been doing it since Noah built the Ark, good record keeping is a habit that should be fostered.


Why?  Why should you need to write down everything and keep records, what is gained by it ?


Having a good working knowledge of what weight is right for your hawk can be the difference between life and death.  Birds of prey, like most wild creatures, don't readily display signs of illness or injury: it's a survival thing, if they're obviously not well then they may become prey themselves.  This means in many cases that by the time it is visually clear that something is wrong it's very often too late to do anything about it.  


Over time a clear picture will emerge of exactly how weather, work, food and many other factors affect the weight, performance and temperament.  This is true not only during the course of one season but year after year.


I find it fascinating in the 'off' season when birds are away moulting to look back through my Falconry Record Books for previous years to see how things have changed or stayed the same.


Very often as a particular hawk gets older and more experienced things change remarkably from year to year.


I also am much happier knowing that should something unforeseen happen and I can't be here to look after my hawks or to tell someone what needs doing that a knowledgeable friend would be able to read my record books and be able to pick up from there.


For hunting hawks Falconry Record Books also build into a great library of memories of great days out with the hawk and spectacular flights at quarry, definitely something worth keeping and looking back over.  It's amazing how much slips the memory.


I know that there are those who will swear that they can remember in encyclopedic fashion everything that I feel compelled to commit to my record book and great for them if they can but for those mere mortals amongst us I think a record books is not only a vital piece of equipment but also one to be enjoyed.


As for the "falconry/bird training" remark..... there are many who quite rightly point out that true falconry is the use of a bird of prey to kill game, usually for the table.  While I don't disagree with this in any way I think that today there are many of us who spend time with birds of prey which are not used for falconry in the purest sense but still call ourselves Falconers, even if it's only because no one has to date given us another more apt word for what we do.


The Hawk and Hound Record Books have been put together in such a way that they don't start or finish on any particular date, in fact they're not dated at all since everyone has a different start and finish date for our flying season.  The headings cover all the information that is useful on a daily basis, including space to record quarry taken on hawking trips, with space for extra notes and comments.  There are LOTS of pages so they should last long enough even for those with more than one hawk.  I use mine for 3 daily.


There is space at the front of the book to record ring numbers or microchip numbers should the unthinkable happen and you find yourself searching for the numbers to give to Barbara at the IBR because your hawk has gone 'missing".


The directory of useful numbers covers everything from Neil Forbes, the Avian Vet, to Falconry Furniture suppliers.


To top it all off the beautiful Hardcover A4 Book has a choice of David Rampling Prints on the front cover so that you can choose from Harris Hawk, Golden Eagle, Goshawk or Peregrine Falcon, with more designs in the pipeline.



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