Module C1. Accommodation and equipment.

Please read these notes carefully!

  1. This is the lesson and assessment module for ‘C1. Accommodation and equipment for Birds of Prey’.
  2. You can study this module on its own, or as part of a larger course – your Raptor Awards Instructor will advise you about this.
  3. The notes and references are here to help you understand the accommodation needs of Birds of Prey, but you must also work with your Instructor to be sure you cover the whole topic.
  4. The lesson ‘quiz’ at the bottom of this page will help you demonstrate that you have the correct knowledge to keep a bird of prey in a safe environment.  Your Instructor will give you more guidance about demonstrating your competence.
  5. This assessment of your knowledge (lesson quiz) will help provide evidence that you are ready to receive your Certificate from Raptor Awards

What is the correct type of accommodation for my Owl or Raptor?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question. Each species has different needs, and each location is also different. The accommodation you provide for your hawk must protect it from harm and also promote good health and long life. It must conform to animal welfare standards and to any Laws that apply in your country.

Do you want to keep a single hawk, or many? Do you want to breed your Hawks? Will you fly your Hawks free, or keep them in an aviary full time?

You must remember that even ‘experts’ who cannot see your particular location will not be able to give definite answers.  It is your responsibility to understand the needs of your hawk and to design and build accommodation that works for you and for your hawk.

How do I know what is best?

Image result for hawk aviary

There are recommended text-books and other reading matter at the end of this lesson. You should study these and learn how the professionals do things. This will help you to develop an understanding of how accommodation should be designed and the correct construction materials to use.

Here are the main things you need to think about:

  • Local laws and regulations – do you need permission to keep a Bird of Prey? Do you need permission to build suitable accommodation?
  • National Legislation regarding Animal Welfare
  • The position of the accommodation – how to build accommodation that will protect your bird/s from the weather, sources of infection and predators. How do you make the accommodation vermin-proof (rats and mice)
  • Disturbance – will your bird/s be free from disturbance? If you have neighbours – will they be affected by your activities?
  • Construction – what materials should you use for the floor, walls, roof and windows? How will you get access to feed your bird/s and change the water? Can you easily keep the accommodation clean?
  • Will the accommodation meet the physical and psychological needs of your chosen species?
  • Habitat appearance and enrichment – should you include vegetation, rocks or other features? Will they benefit your Hawk or introduce additional hazards?

Remember that there is no single right way to build your accommodation, however, there are many wrong ways. Some of these are:

  • Do not build near potential hazards such as piles of stored or rotting vegetation, or in close proximity to other wild or domestic species that could introduce disease or infection
  • Do not use building materials that will quickly rot such as poor quality timber. Do not use materials that can damage your bird/s such as poor quality wire netting
  • If you put decorative objects in the accommodation make sure that these cannot introduce harmful infective agents or add risks of injury.
  • Do not use unsuitable materials for perches and make sure that the distance between perches allows the hawk to either ‘hop’ from one perch to the other, or to slow down properly before landing.

Here are some sources of information that you can rely upon to give sound advice.  If possible try to buy these books so that you can refer to them again and again:

Recommended reading:

  1. Falconry. Care, Captive Breeding and Conservation. Jemima Parry-Jones – Chapter 4, Aviary Building
  2. Understanding the Bird of Prey. Nick Fox – sections 2.7, 2.8, 3.11, 3.12
  3. The Modern Falconer. Diana Durman-Walters. Chapter 17 and Chapter 18 (part)
  4. Training Birds of Prey. Jemima Parry-Jones – Chapter two
  5. Falconry and Hawking 3rd Edition. Phillip Glasier. Chapter 4


This worksheet may help you keep your notes in good order – CLICK


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