When you first get started in falconry, it’s important that you acquire the right equipment, understand its purpose, and learn how to use it properly. One of the first pieces you’ll need to obtain is a hood for your raptor.
The origins of falconry hoods go back to the Middle East and Europe during the time of the Crusades. It has since been solidified as one of the most important and popular tools in a falconer’s arsenal. There are a few things you should know about hoods before you get started with your raptor.
Hooding is a technique used to calm and control a raptor.
The birds of prey used in falconry rely heavily on sight. As a result, anything a raptor cannot see, they do not fear. Hoods are used almost immediately on freshly trapped or acquired birds to help get them used to humans and condition them—using food and other positive reinforcement—to receive the falconer positively.
A hood can also be used on your bird when traveling in your car or truck on a perch. Having the bird hooded keeps them calm so that they do not jump around and get hurt. Trimming your bird’s talons or beak is also another great use for your hood, as this also keeps them calm and safe while you complete the task.
Hoods are available in a variety of styles.
Falconry hoods are made of fine leather and sometimes decorated with beads, needlework, embossed features, feathers, and other embellishments. A few of the more common hood styles include:
Successful hood use depends on accurate fit.
An ill-fitting hood will be uncomfortable for your raptor, and could even potentially cause injury, leading them to resent it and making training more difficult. Before you purchase or make a hood, measure the distance between the widest points (while looking down) of your falcon’s head. A properly-fitted hood should clear the eyes, allow the bird enough movement to cast, and leave the feathers mostly unruffled when removed. Hoods with an adjustable chin strap are ideal, so the falconer can position and fit it more accurately to their raptor.
Whether you’re looking for a top-quality finished hood or the supplies to make one yourself, we have everything you need to get started at Mike’s Falconry Supplies! Our inventory includes eagle, falcon, and hawk hoods in various styles, as well as all the equipment necessary to create your own custom hood.
Browse our top-of-the-line falconry supplies online and order what you need right to your home today!