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OBSERVATIONS 



UPON 



H AW KING 



BY 

t 



SIR JOHN SAUNDERS SEBRIGHT, BART., 

M.P. 



DESCRIBING THE MODE OF 



f • 






BREAKING AND MANAGING 



THE SEVERAL KINDS OF 



H A WKS USED IN FALCONRY. 



LONDON: 

PRINTED FOR J. HARDING, 32, ST. JAMES'S STREET. 

1826. 



JO^. 



fORDOfft 
J. OBttRy LlIOItTtS •TSIBT, LRlCBtTIR IQVARI. 



[Entered at Statumer/ HaU,] 



TO 

JOHN DAWSON DOWNES, ESQ. 

My Dear Sir, 

This, little Work owes its existence 
to you, and to you therefore I address it. But 
for the instructions which you many years ago 
so kindly gave me, I could not myself have 
reclaimed and managed Hawks ; and without 
this practical knowledge of the art, I should 
not have presumed to offer these few pages 
to the public 

I am, 

Dear Sir, 
With great regard. 
Your sincere and faithful Friend, 

J. S, SEBRIGHT. 

Beechwood, Feb. 20th, 1826. 



OBSERVATIONS, 

Sfc, 8fc. 



HAWKING, the favourite diversion of our 
ancestors, is now so fallen into disuse that the 
Art of Falconry is in danger of being entirely 
lost. Conceiving, however, in whateveHltti- 
matiori we may hold it as an amusement, that 
the method of reclaiming a wild bird must 
always remain an object of curiosity, I have 
been induced to commit to paper the following 
observations on the subject : 

They are the result, not only of my own 
experience, but of what I have learnt from the 

B 



best Falconers of the old school, having had 
abundant opportunities of acquiring informa- 
tion from them. 

The village of Falconswaerd, near Bois le 
Due in Holland, haa for many years furnished 
falconers to the rest of Europe. I have known 
many iklconers in England, and in the service , 
of different princes on the Continent ; but I 
never met with one of them who was not a 
native of Falconswaerd. 

It has been the practice of these sober 
and industrious men to stay with their em- 
plt^ers during tlie season for hawking, and 
to pass the remtunder of the year with their 
families at home. 

John Pells, now in the service of ray 
friend John Dawson Downes, Esq., of Old 
Gunton Hill, Suffolk, and who also manages 
the Heron Hawks, kept by subscription in 
Norfolk, is (I believe) the only efficient fal- 



concv by profession now remaining ; all the 
others whom I remember are either dead or 
worn out, and there has been no inducement 
to younger men, to follow the employment 
of their forefathers. 

The slight falcon, (falca gentiUs) and 
the Goshawk, (falco palumbarius) are the two 
species generally used in falconry. The for- 
mer is called a long-winged hawk, or one of 
the lure ; the latter a short-winged hawk, 
or one of the fist. All hawks, according to the 
length of their wings, and to their mode of 
Sight, belong to the one or to the other of these 
two classes ; and as the mode of managing 
the slight falcon and the goshawk will apply 
to all of the class to which they each belong, 
I shall but briefly mention the other kinds, 
since they are but seldom used. 



The slight falcon may either he taken 
from the nest, (or eyerie, as it is called, (Vom 
the German word for ege,) or may be caught 



when it has attained its full growth. It is 
then termed a passage hawk. 



THE EYESS. 

Slight falcons breed in cliffs, in several 
parts of England ; but are more abundant in 
Scotland, and in the northern regions. 
V 

The old birds, if not destroyed, return 
every year to the same nest. 

If the young birds are to be conveyed to 
a distance, they should be taken from the 
tiest before the feathers are enough grown to 
-be in danger of being broken on the journey; 
but when this is not the case, they should 
be left with the old ones as long as possible. 



They are at first to be put upon a little 
clean straw, in a large hamper, firmly fixed 
upon its side, about breast high, on the 



brandies of a tree, in a retired situation. The 
lid of the hamper may be so supported as to 
serve as a sort of platform for the young birds 
to come out upon, when they are fed. 

All that is now required, is to shelter them 
a little from the rain, and to feed them regu- 
larly and plentifully twice a day with fresh 
raw beef, from which the skin and fat have 
been carefully removed. Pigeons, rooks, on 
any other birds just killed, should be given to 
tbem occasionally. No meat should be left 
by them ; the basket is to be kept clean, and 
the young birds are on no account to be 
handled. By this treatment, they will soon 
learn to know the voice or whistle of the 
falconer. 

There is frequently to be observed in the 
plumage of birds of prey a detect, which goes 
by the name of hunger-traces, owing to want 
of food at some period during the growth of 
the feathers. 



Though the full grown falcon, when in 
health, may bear without injury the long fasts 
incident to birds of prey, the young eyesa 
suffers like the young of all other animals, 
from deficiency of nourishment, and the con- 
sequence is principal^ discernible in the 
feathers, 

This defect, when strongly marked, may 
be seen in some degree on every feather of 
the body, but it is especially observable on the 
expanded wing or tail, in a line crossing all the 
feathers. On the shaft of each feather, the 
mark may not only be seen but felt, as a ridge 
slightly projecting. It may also be seen as a 
line of imperfection across the web of every 
feather, neatly marked as if a razor had been 
lightly passed across the wing. 



The injury from this cause is sometimes 
such, as to occasion the feathers to break off 
at the hunger-trace, and it is not improbable, 
that the razor mark seen on the web, is in fact 



ovFing to the breaking off of all the fine fibres 
of the web in the line of the trace. 

Young hawks should be plentifully fed, 
for if they are left one day without food, the 
hunger-traces will appear. Raw eggs should 
be mixed with their food two or three times 
in a week, as this additional nourishment 
tends to make the feathers broad and strong. 

The growth of the young birds is rapid, 
they will noon perch on the branches of 
trees, or the tops of buildings ; and as their 
strength increases, will extend their flights to 
a considerable distance ; but if care be taken 
to feed them at the same place and at the 
same hour, they will not fail to be regular in 
their attendance at their meals. 



The meat may either be cut into small 
pieces and given to them on a plate, or in 
large pieces, so fastened to the ground as to 
prevent them from flying away with it ; and by 



thus using them to feed near the falconer, 
they will be less disposed to cany, i. e. to fly 
away with the game; a fault to which all 
hawks are more or less inclined, and which is 
therefore to be guarded against by every pos- 
sible precaution. 

The longer they can be kept at hack, as 
this state of liberty is called, the better will 
they ultimately be ; but when they have 
omitted to come for their food at the accus- 
tomed hour, for two or three successive days, 
it may be inferred that they have learnt to 
prey for themselves ; and it will be necessary 
to take them up, or they would in a short 
time go away altogether. 

They may be easily taken, by fastening a 
piece of meat to the ground with a small 
bow net, so arranged as to be drawn over 
them when they are feeding ; or, one end of 
a long string may be 6xed to the ground, and 
a slip-knot so placed around the meat, as to 



be drawn about their legs by the other; for 
they will not easily be driven away, when 
they cannot carry their food with them. 

Small leaden bells arc sometimes at- 
tached to hawk's legs, to prevent them from 
preying for themselves ; by this management 
they may be left at liberty, even after they 
have been flown at game. When thus kept, 
they are termed hack hawks. 

It is now that the business of the fal- 
coner may be said to begin. 

A cap of leather, called a hood, is to be 
put on the hawk's head the moment he is 
taken. It is so constructed as to prevent 
him from seeing, but to allow him to feed ; 
and may be put on or taken off at pleasure : 
but to hood a hawk, requires a degree of 
manual dexterity that is not easily acquired. 
I- 
i< Slips of light leather, seven or eight 



inches long, and a quarter of an inch wide^ 
are to be made fast to each of his leg8. 
These are called^>Me*, and are to be fastened 
to a small swivel, fixed to the end of a thong 
of leather, three or four feet long, called a 
leash, so as easily to be detached &om the 
swivel when the hawk is required to fly. 

The jesses always remain on his legs. 
He is also to be equipped with two light 
bells fastened to his legs by pieces of soft 
leather; by the sound of which, when he 
is lost, we may be assisted in recovering 
him. 

A hawk is never to be touched by the 
hand, but when it is absolutely necessary; 
but he must of course be held during these 
operations — care being taken not to break his 
feathers, or to do him any other injury. 



A block of solid wood, in the form of a 
truncated cone, one foot in height, eight or 



It 

nine inches in diameter at the top, and large 
enough at the base not to be easily over- 
turned, is the resting place of this hawk. A 
small staple is driven into the top, and to this 
he is to be tied with sufficient length of leash 
to allow him to go from the block to the 
ground at pleasure. 

When he has been furnished with the 
necessary appendages of hood, bells, jesses, 
and leash, he is to be tied to the block, and 
left quiet for some hours, that he may re- 
cover from the alarm and fatigue that he has 
undergone. 

The block is always (unless when it 
rains,) to stand in the open air in the day- 
time but in a place well protected from the 
wind, 

The hawk must now be placed upon 
the fist with his hood on. 

He will at first bait, (flutter oiF) when 



he is to be re-placed gently by the hand ; 
but he will very soon learn to sit still. He 
must be carried about on the fist during the 
greater part of the day, and frequently 
stroked with a feather on his back and 
leg.. 

When he is to be fed, the hood must be 
taken off. At first, this is best done at night, 
with a candle so placed as to give no more 
light than is absolutely necessary : but in 
two or three days this precaution will not 
be required, and he may be unhooded, and 
fed by day-light. 

He must now be brought by degrees to 
stand quiet when the hood is to be put on. 

The brail Is used for this purpose. This 
is a thong of soft leather, with a sUt running 
longitudinally along the middle, of such a 
length as to admit the pinion joint. 

When the pinion joint has been intro- 



13 

duced into the slit, the lower end of the thong 
is brought backwards under the wing, and tied 
to the other end above it. 

The wing is thus confined, and in such 
a way as to remove it but little from its 
natural position, and so that it can receive no 
injury. 

Another very effectual way to make a 
hawk stand quiet is, by causing water to stream 
upon him, fi-om a whisp of hay or straw, until 
he is thoroughly drenched ; this should always 
be done in the morning, and he should be 
carried on the fiat until he is dry, with his 
wing brailed, be stroked with a feather, and 
hooded and unhooded very frequently. 



When he has become a little accustomed 
to the hood, neither the brail nor the drench- 
ing will be necessary, but he must be carried 
almost all day upon the fist. The hood is to 
be occasionally taken off, and he may then be 



14 

allowed for a short time to pull upon a stump 
or pinion, from which he can get but little 
meat. 

A few mouthfuUs should always be given 
to him the moment the hood is put on. , « 

Hawks, when hooded, are always quiet. 
In the field the hood prevents them from 
bailing when birds rise, and at other times 
from being alarmed at any thing that may 
approach them. 

It may, perhaps, appear paradoxical to 
assert, that hawks, by being kept hooded, are 
brought nearer to their natural habits, but 
this is undoubtedly the case, tor by this treat- 
ment they are induced to remain at rest when 
they are not either feeding, or in pursuit of 
game, and such are their habits in a wild state, 
when left undisturbed. 



^1 , When the hawk is become tolerably 



tame, he may be unhooded ; and after liaving 
eaten a few mouthfiiUs, be placed on the 
block, and enticed to come from thence to the 
fist when held near him. He will soon learn 
to fly to it when it is presented to him at the 
distance of several feet, the fist being of course 
always well garnished with meat. 

When he has been practised in this man- 
ner for a few days, if he be unhooded on the 
fist, and a small piece of meat be thrown on 
the ground, to the distance of two or three 
feet, he will fly down to it, and having eaten 
it, fly back to the fist, enticed as usual by the 
ofler of food. 



It is hardly necessary to say, that a long 
and light string, called a creance, must always 
be tied to the leash when these lessons are 
practised, and that the young hawk should be 
brought to them so gradually, as not to risk a 
failure, by which much time would be lost. 



1() 

l' The hawk is now to be taught to coine 
to the lure ; it is a forked piece ol' wood, 
covered with the wings of birds, and heavy 
enough to prevent the hawk from flying away 
with it. Pieces of meat are tied to each sidi- 
of the lure, and it is attached to a string three 
or four feet long, by which it may be swung 
round in the air, or thrown to a distance. 

The hawk is to be fed upon the lure, 
being first made to come to it wlien held very 
near him, then when held a little farther off ; 
it is to be next thrown upon the ground to a 
small distance, and thus he is to be brought 
by degrees to fly to it, and to seize it eagerly, 
however far it may be thrown. 

An assistant is now to swing the lure at 
some distance from the falconer, who casts oft' 
the hawk. 



It is to be thrown into the air when 



17 

tile hawk is flying towards it, but so that he 
cannot attain it until it falls to the ground, 
lest he should be hurt by striking it in his 

flight. 

When this lesson has been repeated, 
until the hawk has become eager to take the 
lure, the assistant is to swing it as before, but 
is to take it into his hand when the hawk is 
coming ; he is then to swing it again as soon 
as the hawk has passed ; and finally, to throw 
it upon the ground, when the hawk is return- 
ing towards him. 

In this way the hawk will soon be taught 
to fly round the falconer, bending his flight 
inwards when the lure is shewn to him, or 
when he hears the call of the falconer, who 
should always halloo when he is luring. He 
may thus be made to follow the falconer 
wherever he pleases ; diis is called watting on. 

'"" When the hawk has alighted upon the 



IS 

lur^ the faJconer is to walk rouud him, 
whistle to him wiiileiie is feeding, and reward 
him with a gcKid meal when he is taken up. 

It is thus that hawks are made obedient 
to the lure, and that they are exercised when 
they cannot be flown at game, but they must 
not be kept too long upon wing, or they 
would acquire the habit of flying low ; and it 
is the perfection of a slight falcon to soar as 
high as possible. 

It is now time to enter him to his game. 
While the hawk is waiting on at a proper 
height, his head being .tyraed inwards — a par- 
tridge tied to a creancc is to be thrown up; 
and when the hawk Jias taken it, he must 
be allowed to eat it on the ground near the 
fiilconer, who is to walk round him, and 
whistle to him as -usual. 



When this lesson has been repeated three 
or four times, hj throwing up partridges not 




con&ied by the crestnce, the Vacation of the 
«yeii may be considered as completed ; and 
he may be taken into the field to be used in 
the way that I shall endeavour to describe ; 
hut it will be necessary to give bira every 
,<^f^tage it) his first flights, and to hove « 
Jiive' pwtridge in the bag ready to beithrown 
up to him, should he fail in has first attempte 
to take his game. 

iCt-.-MI. ■■ - ■ '■ 

:\; . - lihavc now described the mode of break- 
■isig eyesses, as {jractbed by the falconers ; but 
J, am^pf 'Opinion that it mLglrt be better done, 
and with infinitely less trouble, by using the 
young hawk when flying at hack, to feed al- 

■. ..,.,M, --Jf iV. IH-il -1 i: ^:. ■!'-'- 

He wouJd sQoa leami to fiy to it, when 
SiWung ,rouwl in the air, and would thus be 
j^ugbt to .wait on. '';n 



The falconer should kneel down to the 
hawk, when he is feeding on the lure, and 
c 2 



give him meat from the hand, by which means 
he may not only be made tame, but may be 
prevented from canying. 

When the season for hawking is at hand, 
a few hve partridges should be thrown up to 
him, and he should be allowed to eat them 
near the falconer. • T" 

I have no doubt but by this treatment 
a young hawk would be fit for use as soon 
as he was taken up, and that nothing more 
would be required than to accustom him to 
stand to the hood. '"!• 



If care be taken to feed young hawks as 
soon as it is light in the morning, they may 
be left long to &y at liberty before they will 
prey for themselves ; for they have no incli- 
nation to pursue game, when they are not 
impelled to it by hunger. 

Uwt VII I 



PARTRIDGE HAWKING. 

An open country is required for this sport. 
The falconers must be on horseback, provided 
with a steady pointei and one or two spaniels, 
under good command. 

When a partridge is marked down, or 
pointed by the dog, the hawk is to be un- 
hooded and cast off. He will fly round the 
falconer, and if a good bird, mount to a con- 
siderable height — the higher the better. 



If he ranges to too great a distance, he 
may be made to incline inwards by the voice 
of the falconer, and by the lure ; but these 
should be used with discretion : for it is much 
better that a flight should occasionally be lost 
from a hawk's ranging too far, than that his 



22 

pitch should be lowered (as is often the case) 
by too much luring. This, and the not giv- 
ing the hawk ti^le to mount before the game 
is sprung, are very common faults in the ma- 
nagement of slight falcons. 
-h 

It is by no meaois nef:essary that the hawk 
ahould be very near the birds when they riisci 
If he be within two oi* three hundred yards 
of them, it will be near enough, provided that 
his pitch be Hgh,- and tbirt^ his headibt tUmed 
towards thdnil '/t-.l -.i' .--.I, . [» M l»»Uw>q 

High ranging pointers are by &r tlie beat 
for this sport, for the birds will ofteii tie to 
a dog, when they will not suffer horsemen 
to approach them. 



When the dog points at a distance^ the 
hawk i^ ^o be cast off, as it will both prevent 
the birds irom rising, and give him time to 
mount. '•> Ml vnt 3111^10 fl'jivMll « lUQiA 



When the partridge rises, the hawk wiH 
dart down to it with wonderful velocity, and 
either take it in the first flight, or force 
it to take refuge in a bush or hedge. In the 
latter case the hawk will mate his point — that 
is, rise perpendicularly in the air over the spot 
where the bird got into cover. 
Ml 

" The falconer is now to attend solely to 
his hawk, and leave it to- others to assist the 
dog in springing the bird. 

The hawfc should wait on at a moderate 
distance, bat his flight should not be lowered 
hy an injudicious use of the lure. 

■• When the hawk has taken the partridge, 
the falconer akHMi is to approach him, at ii«« 
walking round him at a distance, with the 
greatest circumspection, and drawing nea* him 
by degrees, as he seems disposed to bear it. 
At length, by kneeling dmvn, whistling as at 
the time of feeding, the arm may be extended 



I 



gently, (for all sudden motions are to be 
avoided) .and by taking hold of the partridge, 
which the hawk will certainly not quit, he 
may be placed on the fiat, still grasping liis 
prey in his talons. 

The hawk is then to be hooded, after 
having been rewarded with the head of the 
partridge, or if not required to fly again, he 
should be immediately fed. 

If a young hawk does not take the bird 
in his first flight, and if it cannot be retrieved 
in a short time after he has pul il in (driven 
it into cover), a live partridge from the bag 
should be thrown up to him ; and if it be 
the first bird that he has taken, he should be 
allowed to eat it near the falconer. Nothing 
is so likely to prevent him from carrywg as 
this treatment ; for this very troublesome fault 
does not arise (as some suppose) from the 
wildness of the hawk, but from his dread of 
being deprived of his prey. 



'■: In the latter part of the season, when the 
birds are too wild to he to the dog, the com- 
pany may draw up in Hne at the distance of 
fifty or sixty yards from each other, and gallop 
fiCTDSs a plain with a hawk upon wing. 
it 

u The falconer should be placed in the cen- 
tre of the line, that he may regulate the pace 
by the situation of the hawk. The best sport 
that I have ever seen in partridge hawking 
was obtained in this manner, when the face 
of the country was so bare, and the birds 
so wild, as to make it impossible to approach 
them in the usual way. 

When the birds will not lie to the dog, 
the hawk is sometimes unhooded, and cast 
off the moment that they rise. This is tech- 
nically caUt^d Jli/irig out of ike hood. 



The first flight procured in this way af- 
fords but little sport ; but if the bird \s pat in, 
the second may be in the right style, a:" the 



hawk will then have time to get up to bis 
pitch. 'i><l 

As the partridge always flies in a straight 
Hne, and docs not shift to evade his pursuor, 
the perfection of this sport is, for the hawk 
to wait on at a great height, and to come 
down almost perpendicularly to strike his prey. 



''v MAGPIE HAWKING. 

*• ■ 

il Magpies may be flown with eyess sli^t 
falcons, and afford excellent sport. 

A down or common, where low trees or 
thorn bushes are dispersed at the distance of 
from thirty to fifty yards apart, is the place 
best calculated tor this diversion. 

' When a magpie is seen at a distance, a 
hawk is immediately to be cast off. The 
magpie will take refuge in a bush the moment 



•27 

that he sees the falcon, aad wiU remain there 
antil the falconer arrives, with the hawk wait- 
ing on in the air. The magpie is to be drivea 
from hia retreat, and the hawk, if at a good 
pitch, will stoop at him as he passes to ano- 
ther bush, front whence he is to be, driven, 
in. the same way> anothur Liawk having been 
ppevioualy oast «ff, so that one ©r the other 
may , always be so situated as ta attack bijb 
to advantage. ', •jihitifi-it 



The tecond hawk is necessary, for the 
magpie sbilts \vith great cunning and dex-^ 
terity to avoid the stoop ; and when hard 
pressed, owing to the bushes being rather far 
apart, will pass under the bellies of the horses, 
flutter along a cart rut, and avail himself of 
every little iaequality of the ground in order 
t^ escape, 
(l-..- 

,; ,, Four or five assistants, besides the fal- 
coner, (who should attend, solely to his ' 
hawks) are required for this sport, lliey 



I 



2S 

should be well mounted, and provided with 
whips ; for the magpie cannot be driven 
from a bush by a stick ; but the crack of a, 
whip will force him to leave it, even when he 
is so tired as hardly to be able to fly. No- 
thing can be more animating than this sport : 
it is, in my opinion, far superior to every 
other kind of hawking. The object of the 
chace is fully a match for its pursuers — a 
requisite absolutely necessary to give an in- 
terest to any sport of this kind ; and it has 
the advantage of giving fiill employment to 
the company, which is not the case in par- 
tridge-hawking. 



The magpie will always endeavour to 
make his way to some strong cover; care, 
therefore, must be taken to counteract him, 
and to drive him to that part of the ground 
where the bushes are farthest from each 
other. It is not easy to take a magpie in a 
hedge. Some of the horsemen must be on 
each side of it ; some must ride behind, and 




2f) 

some before him ; for, unless compelled to 
rise, by being surrounded on all sides, he will 
flutter along the hedge, so as to shelter him- 
self from the stoop of the falcon. Many 
requisites are necessary to afford this sport 
in perfection — a favourable country, good 
hawks, and able assistants. 

i.J. ■'- 

»|/. HAWKING OF ROOKS WITH 

'■■■' EYESSES. 

As slight falcons are not bred in the 
neighbourhood of Falconswaerd, many of 
the falconers have had no experience with 
eyesses, and arc of opinion that they cannot 
be made to fly rooks ; but I have proved the 
contrary by my own practice. , ,^ 

From eyesses that have been confined 
to the block from an early age, much exer- 
tion cannot be expected ; but I have had 
falcons that had flown long at hackj and 



preyed frequently for tlicraselves before thf^' 
were taken up, that flew rooks in the highest 
perfection ; and although I do not know that 
any eyesses have been flown at herone, I 
have no doubt but that some of the best of 
them would be fiiliy equal to tiie passage- 
hawks for that purpose. This peculiar ad- 
vantage attends the use of eyesses, that they 
may be flown when in high condition ; 
wben^as the falconers arc -oMjgad ''fo Keep 
the passage-hawks ;seHi$what low, from the 
fear of losing them. 



The females of almost eveiy kind 'df 
hawk are considerably larger than the 'males. 
In "the language of falconry, the former arc 
called /afcoTiS, and the latter tchceb: 'These 
terras are applied to almost' every species of 
hawk. It is to be regretted that this lan- 
■guage should prevail, as it has led to many 
mistakes. 

1,..; , ■ ■ 

''"' Theterm falcon should beappiied^^ffir- 



celleme, to the/a/co gentilis — adiBtinctionthat 
he is well entitled to, by reason of his su- 
perior qualities as a bird of chase. 



PASSAGE HAWKS. " 

The slight falcons that arc brought to 
this country in the spring, to be used in 
flying herons, arc caught in the precedrpg 
autumn and winter, on the heaths near ^al- 
conswacrd, as they pass towards the *pHth 
and east. 

These hawks are taken, by placing, in a 
favourable situationj a small bow-net, so ar- 
ranged as to be drawn over quickly by fi long 
string that is attached to it. A pigeon of a 
light colour is tied to the ground as a bait ; 
and the felconer ia concealed, at a convenient 
distance;, in a hut made of turf, to wh}ch the 
string reaches. 



4 
I 



32 



A Butcher Bird, called by Linnaeus, La- 
mus Excubitor i that ii, thu Warder Butcher 
Bird, from the look-out that he keeps for the 
falcon, is tied on the ground near the hut ; 
and two pieces of turf are so set up as to 
serve him, as well for a place of shelter from 
the weather, as of retreat from the falcon. 
The falconer employs himself in some seden- 
tary occupation, relying upon the vigilance of 
the butcher-bird, to warn him of the approach 
of a hawk. This he never fails to do, by 
screaming loudly when he perceives his 
enemy at a distance, and by running under 
the turf when the hawk draws near. The 
falconer is thus prepared to pull the net, the 
moment that the falcon has pounced upon the 
pigeon. The young hawks of the year are 
called red hawks, from the colour of their 
plumage. The older hawks are called hag- 
gards : it is these that ornithologists have 
mistaken for a distinct species, calling it the 
Per^rine Falcon. These certainly diCFer very 
much from the young birds, in the colcftte' bf 



their plumage. Their feathers assume a blue 
or alatc colour, and become lighter at every 
succeeding moult ; and what is more remark- 
able, the bars on the breast-feathers of the red 
hawk are longitudinal, and those of the hag- 
gard are transverse. The same change takes 
place in the feathers of many other hawks. 
. These changes are quite notorious to fal- 
coners, who have all had occasicin to see the 
same individual hawks, at different periods of 
their lives, in the two different states that 
I have described. 

It is to the old hawk, when found in 
the wild state only, that the term hag- 
gard is applied : those that have been mewed 
(moulted) in a state of captivity, are called 
intermewed hawks. -J*! 

I have used the term slight falcon for 
t\ie /ako gcTiliiii; because it is so called by 
the. falconers ; but from the habits of these 
birds, perhaps the term falco peregrinus 



would be the most appropriate to the spe- 
cies. 

Slight falcons take up their abode every 
year, from October or November, until the 
spring, upon Westminster Abbey, and upon 
other churches in the metropolis : this is 
well known to the London pigeon-fanciers, 
from the great havoc they make in their 
flights. 

The mode of managing the passage- 
hawk, after he is caught, is very similar to 
that which Z have described in speaking of 
the eyess, when first taken in hand ; but as 
the former has been longer at large, he is, of 
course, more difficult to reclaim : but on the 
other hand, from having been accustomed to 
prey for himself, he will in general fly boldly 
*t his game, which is not always the case 
with the eyess. 



It may appear, to tliose who are unac- 



quainted with falconry, that the difficulty of 
the art consists in taming the hawk ; but this 
is by no means the case: for it is very easy 
to tame him, but very difficult to make him 
fly. 

A rafter hood is put upon the hawk the 
moment he is taken. It is hghter than the 
common one ; but from its being inconve- 
nient for hooding and unhooding, is never 
used but for birds lately taken, or in the act 
of travelling. 

The extreme points of the beak and 
talons are to be taken offj and jesses, leash, 
and bells are to be put on, as has been al- 
ready directed for the eyess. The passage- 
hawk, when first taken, must be carried all 
day upon the fist, and fed at night by candle- 
light. , '>(i_ 



By constant carriage, not only by day, 
but also (should it be found necessary) during 



ha.wk will then have time to get up (o his 
pitch. 

Aft the partridge always flies in a straight 
line, and does not shift to evade his pursuer, 
the perfection of this sport is, for the hawk 
to wait on at a great height, and to come 
down almost Jjerpendicularly to strike his prey. 



'. MAGPIE HAWKING, 

1 1 Magpies may be flown with eyess slight 
falcons, and afford excellent sport. 

A down or common, where low trees or 
thorn bushes are dispersed at the distance of 
from thirty to fifty yards apart, is the place 
best calculated for this diversion. 

When a magpie is seen at a distance, a 
hawk is immediately to be cast off. The 
magpie will take refuge in a bush the moment 



•27 

that he sees the falcon^ and wiU remain there 
until the falconer arrives, with the hawk wwt- 
iog on in the air. The magpie is to be driven 
from hi& retreat, and the hawk, if at a good 
pitch, will atoop at him as he passes to ano- 
ther bush, from whence he is to be driven 
in th£ same way^ aootlier hawk Itaving been 
previously oast Off, sq that one or the other 
may always be so situated as td attack bim 
to advantage. '■, T>)riir'H|>-ii 

The Second hawk is necessary, for the 
nMSpie shifts with great canning and dex- 
terity to avoid the stoop ; and when hard 
pressed, owing to the bushes being rather far 
apart, will paes under the bellies of the horses, 
flutter along a cart rut, and avail himself of 
cveiy littli) iaequahty of tho ground in order 
to escape. 
ih- 

,; ,, Four or five assistants, besides the fal- 
coner, {who should attend, solely to his 
hawks) are required for this sport. 'Shcy 



should be well mounted, and provided with 
whips ! for the magpie cannot be driven 
from a bush by a stick ; but the crack of a, 
whip will force him to leave it, even when he 
is so tired as hardly to be able to fly. No- 
thing can be more animating than this sport : 
it is, in my opinion, far superior to every 
other kind of hawking. The object of the 
chace is fully a match for its pursuers — a 
requisite absolutely necessary to give an in- 
terest to any sport of this kind ; and it has 
the advantage of giving full employment to 
the company, which is not the case in par- 
tridge-hawking. 



The magpie will always endeavour to 
make his way to some strong cover ; care, 
therefore, must be taken to counteract him, 
and to drive him to that part of the ground 
where the bushes are farthest from each 
other. It is not easy to take a magpie in a 
hedge. Some of the horsemen must be on 
each side of it ; some must ride behind, and 




29 

some before him ; for, unless compelled to 
rise, by being surrounded on all sides, he will 
flutter along the hedge, so as to shelter him- 
self from the stoop of the falcon. Many 
requisites are necessary to aflbrd this sport 
in perfection — a favourable country, good 
hawks, and able assistants. 

4'^. ■.,!,¥ 

i" .1. 

4 HAWKING OF ROOKS WITH 
• EYESSES. 

As slight falcons are not bred in the 
neighbourhood of Falconswaerd, many of 
the falconers have had no experience with 
eyesses, and are of opinion that they cannot 
be made to fly rooks ; but I have proved the 
contrary by my own practice. ,^ 



From eyesses that have been confined 
to the block from an early age, much exer- 
tion cannot be expected; but I have had 
falcons that had flown long at hack, and 



30 

preyed frequently for themselves before th^' 
were taken up, that flew rooks in the highest 
perfection ; and although I do not know that 
any eyesses have been flown at herona, I 
liave no doubt but that some of the best of 
them would be fully equal to the passage- 
hav^ks for that purpose. This peculiar ad- 
vantage attends the use of eyesses, that they 
may be flown when in high condition ; 
wheneas the falconers are <»b4igad to keep 
the passage-hawks ^seweivhat low, from the 
fear of losing them. 



The females of almost every kind of 
hawk are considerably larger than the males. 
In -the language of falconry, the' former are 
called y«fconJ, and the lattet teircels. 'These 
terms are applied to ahnost every species of 
hawk. It is to be regretted that this lan- 
goage should prevail, as it ^ae .ied^to imany 
mistakiis; ■''■■' ■'■' ' i*' ''-^^ "• 

li I » li ^^iterm falcon should be apptied, ^wr«ir- 




ceUence, to the/alco gcntilti — a distinction that 
he is well entitled to, by reaBon of his su- 
perior qualities as a bird of chase. . . i 

in 
PASSAGE HAWKS. " 

The slight falcons that are brought to 
this country in the spring, to -be used in 
flying herons, are caught in the preceding 
autumn and winter, on the heaths near ^al- 
conswaerd, as they pass towards the isp^t^ 
and east. ,,(j 

These hawks are taken, by placing, in a 
^vourable situation, a small bow-net, so ar- 
.ranged as to be drawn over quickly by a long 
string that is attached to it. A pigeon of a 
light colour is tied to the ground as a bait; 
and the felconer is concealed, at a convenient 
distance, in a hut made of turf, to which the 
String reaches. 



32 



A Butcher Bird, called by Linnieus, La- 
tiius E^'cubitor ; that is, the Warder Butcher 
Bird, from the look-out that he keeps for the 
falcon, is tied on tlie ground near the hut ; 
and two pieces of turf are so set up as to 
serve him, as well for a place of shelter from 
the weather, as of retreat fi-om the falcon. 
The falconer employs himself in some seden- 
tary occupation, relying upon the vigilance of 
the butcher-bird, to warn him of the approach 
of a hawk. This he never fails to do, by 
screaming loudly when he perceives his 
enemy at a distance, and by running under 
the turf when the hawk draws near. The 
falconer is thus prepared to pull the net, the 
moment that the falcon has pounced upon the 
pigeon. The young hawks of the year are 
called red hawks, from the colour of their 
plumage. The older hawks are called hag- 
gards : it is these that ornithologists have 
mistaken for a distinct species, caUing it the 
Peregrine Falcon. These certainly differ very 
mucli from the young birds, in the colour' of 




.1-J 

their plumage. TKeir feathers assume a blue 
or slate colour, and become lighter at every 
succeeding moult ; and what is more remark- 
able, the bars on the breast-feathers of the red 
hawk are longitudinal, and those of the hag- 
gard are transverse. The same change takes 
place in the feathers of many other liawkd. 
These changes are quite notoriouA to fal- 
coners, who have all had occasion to h-c the 
same individual hawks, at ditfereiit |>eriodH of 
their lives, in the two diSerent state* that 
I have described. 

It is to the old hawk, when found in 
the wild state only, ttiat the tcnii liag- 
gard is appUed: thow: that have l«Mrn iiipwed 
(moulted) in a etate of captivity, are called 
intermewed hawks. "• 



I have used the tenn sUght falcon for 
%!i\e. fako geidilh, because it is so called by 
the. falconers ; but from the habits 'jf these 
bird*, perhaps the term faito peregrittwi 



would he the most appropriate to the spe- 
cies. 

Slight falcons take up their abode «very 
year, from October or November, until the 
spring, upon Westminster Abbey, and upon 
other churches in the metropolis : this is 
well known to the London pigeon-fanciers, 
from the great havoc they make in their 
flights. 

The mode of managing the passage- 
hawk, after he is caught, is very similar to 
that v^liich I have described in speaking of 
the eyess, when first taken in hand ; but as 
the former has been longer at large, he is, of 
course, more difficult to reclaim : but on the 
other hand, from having been accustomed to 
prey for himself, he will in general fly boldly 
at bis game, which is not always the case 
with the eyess. 



vi It may appear, to those who are uoac- 




quainted with falconry, that the difficulty of 
the art consists in taming the hawk ; but this 
is by no means the case : for it is very easy 
to tame him, but very difficult to make him 
«y. 

A rafter hood is put upon the hawk the 
moment he is taken. It is lighter than the 
common one ; but from its being inconve- 
nient for hooding and unhooding, is never 
used but for birds lately taken, or in the act 
of travelling. 



The extreme points of the beak and 
talons are to be taken of^ and jesses, leasli, 
and bells are to be put on, aa has been al- 
ready directed for the cyess. The passage- 
hawk, when first taken, must be carried all 
day upon the fist, and fed at night by candle- 
light. i.'H 



« 



By constant carriage, not only by day, 
but also (should it be found necessary) during 



3fi 

a part of the night, and by frequent brushing 
with a feather, he will at length learn to feed 
freely on the fiat by daylight ; and he must 
then be brought by degrees to stand quiet 
when the hood is to be put on. I have fully 
described Ijow this is to be done, in speaking 
^of tiie eyess. 

The hawk is not to be fed, while he is 
thus making to the hood; but a small piece 
of meat should always be given to him afler 
the hood is put on. 



The passage-hawk is to be trained to the 
lure in the way that I have described in treat- 
ing of the eyess ; but it is enough if these 
hawks will fly to it when swung round at a 
distance : it would be very difficult to teach 
them to wait on, nor is it necessary, for the 
purposes to which they are applied. They 
are always taken dinun after having flown 
unsuccessfully at their game, not by the lure, 
but by a live pigeon tied to a string. 



37 

When the hawk has leamt to come" well 
to the lure, a hve pigeon is to be given to 
him from the hand ; one is then to be thrown 
up to him in a creance ; and if he behaves 
well in these trials, he may be trusted at 
large, to fly a pigeon whose flight has been 
shortened. 

In the same way he is to be brought to 
fly a heron. First, one is "to be given to him 
from the hand ; next, one in a creance ; and, 
lastly, one at large with its flight shortened. 
These are, in fact, the regular gradations by 
which all hawks are brought to fly at the 
game for which they are intended. It is 
hardly necessary to say, that the hawk should 
be well rewarded after each of these lessons. 

Some hawks will not attack a heron, 
when it is first shewn to them ; but they may 
generally be brought to it by flying them at a 
cock, of a light colour, and by tying meat upon 
a heron's back, and allowing them to feed 



preyed frequently for theraselvcs before they 
were taken up, that flew rooks in the highest 
perfection ; and although I do not know that 
any eyesses have been flown at herons, I 
have no doubt but that some of the best of 
them would be fiiUy equal to the passage- 
hawks for that purpose. This peculiar ad- 
vantage attends the use of eyesses, that they 
may be flown when in high condition ; 
whereas tlte fabouers arc -oUijol .'fo Keep 
the passage-hawks somfewhat low, from the 
fear of losing them. 

The fematcs of almost erery kind of 
hawk are considerably larger than the males. 
In the language of falconry, the former arc 
cailed /(rfconj, and the latter teircels. 'Thesfe 
terms are applied to ahriost' every species of 
hawk. It is to be regretted that this lan- 
■guage should prevail, as it hw .ted"tB 'many 
mistakes. -'''' -■^ ' ''' ''■' ■ 

liii . Ttfetermfalcon should be appti€d,j»(W«a»- 



31 

ceUence, to the fa/co gcntiiu — a distinction that 
he is well entitled to, by reason of his su- 
.jterior qualities as a bird of chase. 



PASSAGE HAWKS. 

The slight falcons that arc brought to 
this country in the spring, to be used in 
flying herons, are caught in the preceding 
autumn and winter, on the heaths near Pai- 
conswaerd, as they pass towards the >sptft|i 
and east. ,|^ 



These hawks are taken, by placing, in a 
favourable situation, a sm,all bow-net, so ar- 
ranged as to be drawn over quickly by a long 
string that is attached to it. A pigeon of a 
light colour is tied to the ground as a bait; 
and the felconer .ie cpncealed, at a CMivenient 
distance, in a hut made of turf, to which the 
string ivaphes. 



32 

A Butcher Bird, called by LiniiEeus, ha- 
mtis £^,rcw6i7or ; that is, the Warder Butcher 
Bird, from the look-out that iie keeps for the 
fiilcon, is tied on the ground near the hut ; 
and two pieces of turf are so set up as to 
serve him, as well for a place of shelter from 
the weather, as of retreat from the falcon. 
The falconer employs himself in some seden- 
tary occupation, relying upon the vigilance of 
the butcher-bird, to warn him of the approach 
of a hawk. This he never fails to do, by 
screaming loudly when he perceives his 
enemy at a distance, and by running under 
the turf when the hawk draws near. The 
falconer is thus prepared to pull the net, the 
moment that the falcon has pounced upon the 
pigeon. The young hawks of the year are 
called red hawks, from the colour of their 
plumage. The older hawks are called hag- 
gards : it is these that ornithologists haVe 
mistaken for a distinct species, calHng it the 
Peregrine Falcon. These certainly differ very 
much from the young birds, in the colouf of 



r 



some before him ; for, unless compelled to 
rise, by being surrounded on all sides, he will 
flutter along the hedge, so as to shelter him- 
self from the stoop of the falcon. Many 
requisites are necessary to afford this sport 
in perfection — a favourable country, good 
hawks, and able assistants. 
tfft' 'I".* 

HAWKING OF ROOKS WITH 

EYESSES. 

As slight falcons are not bred in the 
neighbourhood of Falconswaerd, many of 
the falconers have had no experience with 
cyesses, and are of opinion that they cannot 
be made to fly rooks ; but I have proved the 
contrary by my own practice. ^ . 

..-.1 
From eyesses that have been confined 
to the block from an early age, much exer- 
tion cannot be expected ; but I have had 
falcons that had flown long at hack, and 



would be the mc»t appropriate to the spe- 
cies. 

Slight falcons take up their abode «vcry 
year, from October or November, until the 
spring, upon Westminster Abbey, and upon 
other churches in the metropohs : this is 
well known to the London pigeon-fanciers, 
from the great havoc they make in their 
flights. 

Tile mode of managing the passage- 
hawk, after he is caught, is very similar to 
that which I have described in speaking of 
the eyess, when first taken in hand ; but as 
the former has been longer at large, he is, of 
course, more difficult to reclaim : but on the 
other hand, from having been accustomed to 
prey for himself, he will in general fly boldly 
at his game, which is not always the case 
with the eyess. 



It may appear, to thoae who are unac- 




quainted with falconry, that the difficulty 
the art consists in taming the hawk ; but this 
is by no means the case : for it is very easy 
to tame him, but very diffieuU to make him 
fly. 

A mfter hood is put upon the hawk the 
moment he is taken. It is Hghter than the 
common one ; but from its being inconve- 
nient for hooding and unhooding, is never 
used but for birds lately taken, or in the act 
of travelling. 

The extreme points of the beak and 
talons are to be taken off^ and jesses, leaah, 
and bells are to be put on, as has been al- 
ready directed for the eyess. The passage- 
hawk, when first taken, must be carried all 
day upon the flst, and fed at night by candle- 
light -I 

By constant carriage, not only by day, 
but also (should it be found necessary) during 
d2 



Ity of ^^ 



I 



32 

A Butcher Bird, called by Liniiasus, /.«- 
nius ExcubilOT ; that is, the Warder Butcher 
Bird, from the look-out that he keeps for the 
falcorij is tied on tlie ground near the hut ; 
and two pieces of turf are so set up as to 
serve him, as well for a place of shelter from 
the weather, as of retreat from the falcon. 
The falconer employs himself in some seden- 
tary occupation, relying upon the vigilance of 
the butcher-bird, to warn him of the approach 
of a hawk. This he never fails to do, by 
screaming loudly when he perceives his 
enemy at a distance, and by running under 
the turf when the hawk draws near. The 
falconer is thus prepared to pull the net, the 
moment that the falcon has pounced upon the 
pigeon. The young hawks of the year are 
called red hawks, from the colour of their 
plumage. The older hawks are called hag- 
gards : it 19 these that ornithologists have 
mistaken for a distinct species, caUing it the 
Peregrine Falcon. These certainly differ very 
much from the young birds, in the colo'ti*' bf 



neighbourhood of Alconbury Hill. They are 
abundant in open countries. A great owl, 
(striae bilbo) to the leg of which the falconers 
usually tie a fox's brush, not only to impede 
its flight, but to make it (as they fancy) more 
attractive, is thrown up to draw down the 
kite. 

Tlic Icelander and the gyrfalcon are 
managed very much in the same way as the 
slight falcon, as arc also the two following 
species, with which I shall conclude my ob- 
servations upon long-winged hawks. 
b, 

The merlin and the hobby both breed in 
England ; they are very small, but rapid in 
their flight. They may be made to tvait on ; 
the merlin will take blackbirds or thrushes ; 
the hobby small birds, if thrown up from the 
hand ; but they are neither of them strong 
enough to be efficient in the field. 



^^^ Much is said of the lanner and the Ian- 



would be the most appropriate to the spe- 
cies. 

Slight falcons take up their abode every 
year, from October or November, until the 
spring, upon Westminster Abbey, and upon 
other churches in the metropolis : this is 
well known to the London pigeon-fanciers, 
from the great havoc they make in their 
flights. 

Tile mode of managing the passage- 
hawk, after he is caught, is very similar to 
that which I have described in speaking of 
the eyess, when first taken in hand ; but as 
the former has been longer at large, he is, of 
course, more difficult to reclaim : but on the 
other hand, from having been accustomed to 
prey for himself, he will in general fly boldly 
at his game, which is not always the case 
with the eyess. 



It may appear, to those who are uuac- 



quainted with talconryj that the difficulty of 
the art consists in taming the hawk ; but this 
is by no means the case : for it is very easy 
to tame him, but very difficult to make him 
fly. 

A rufter hood is put upon the hawk the 
moment he is taken. It is lighter than the 
common one ; but from its being inconve- 
nient for hooding and uiihooding, is never 
used but for birds lately taken, or in the act 
of travelling. 



The extreme points of the beak and 
talons are to be taken otF, and jesses, leash, 
and bells are to be put on, as has been al- 
ready directed for the eyess. The passage- 
hawk, when first taken, must be carried all 
day upon the fist, and fed at night by candle- 
light , ..| 

By constant carnage, not only by day, 
but also (should it be found necessary) during 



IT 

and a half in diameter, fixed liorizontatly about 
four feet from the ground. It is to be placed 
" » under a tree in fine weather, and in some 

sheltered place when it rains. To the perch 
is suspended a piece of cloth, or of matting, 
hanging like a curtain, which assists the hawk 
in regaining the perch when he has baited off, 
and prevents him from twisting the Icash 
round it by passing under. The swivel that 
is fixed to the leash is to be tied close to the 
top of the perch, and is attached to the jesses 
by a short leash, six or eight inches long, in 
such a manner as to be easily taken off, when 
the hawk is to be prepared for flying. He is 
then to be held on the fist by the jesses, in 
the same way as the slight falcon. 



As the goshawk is carried without a hood, 
and as he is not to be brought down by the 
lure, but must come to the fist at the falconer's 
call, it is essential that he should be made as 
tame as possible, and this can only be done by 
almost constant carriage, and by allowing 



liim frequently to pull upon a stump or pinion, 
from which he can get but Uttle meat. He will 
soon learn to c6me from the perch to the fist, 
if held close to him when allured by meat. 
By persevering in this practice, and by cau- 
tiously increasing the distance, he will at 
length be brought to come to the fist, when 
he is thirty or forty yards off. It is hardly 
necessary to say, that a ereance must always 
be attached to the leash when these lessons 
are given, until the hawk is sufficiently re- 
claimed to be trusted at large, and with this 
precaution too much must not be required of 
him at a time. In breaking hawks, and all 
other animals, much additional trouble is oc- 
casioned, and much time is lost in endeavour- 
ing to get them on too fast. When the gos- 
hawk will come freely to the fist, not only 
from the perch, but from the ground, and 
from low trees ou which he should frequently 
be placed, it will only be necessary to give him 
a few live partridges in the way that I have 
described, and he will be ready for the field. 



PARTRIDGE HAWKING. 

That the goshawk should have been 
highly valued before it was the practice to 
shoot flying, I can readily conceive : for he 
will not only take a great deal of game, but 
may be flown in the most inclosed country, or 
even in a wood. But I must be allowed to 
express my surprise that any on? should use 
these birds for sport. 

When a covey rises, if the birds are very 
young, the goshawk may possibly take one at 
the first flight ; but if the partridges are toler- 
ably strong, that is, what a sportsman would 
call fit to kill, they will fly at least twice 
~ as fast as this hawk. 



He follows the covey at a distance, flying 
low, and in the manner of an owl. When 
the partridges take refuge iu a hedge, (for 



these hawks are too slow for an open country) 
the goshawk marks the spot with the greatest 
precision ; and after having made his point, by 
rising perpendicularly in the air, he takes his 
stand upon a neighbouring tree. If his situa- 
tion be favourable, he is allowed to retain it, 
or otherwise he is called down to the fist. 
In either case the birds are to be driven out, 
and he either takes one at this their second 
flight, or again drives them into a hedge, and 
takes his stand as before, 

A groat many partridges may be killed 
bj/ the meaiis of the goshawk, in the beginning 
of the season, when the birds are young, and 
particularly in a Acv/y morning, as their wings 
becoming wet from their having been driven 
into the hedges, they will be easily taken by 
the dogs. In fact, not one in ten of the par- 
tridges brought home by those who use these 
birds, has been actually taken by the hawk. 

The goshawk will take landrails and 
k2 



pheasants ; but if much used to these easier 
flights, will not even attempt to fly partridges. 
Indeed, the goshawk is so slack mettled, that 
it requires the most skilful management to 
make him fly at all. The veiy worst of them 
will take rabbits ; and this is, in my opinion, 
the best use to which they can be applied. 



THE SPARROW HAWK. 

(Falco Nisus.) 

The sparrow-hawk is like the goshawk, 
but in miniature ; and he is to be managed 
exactly in the same way. His flight is rapid 
for a short distance ; he will take partridges 
at the beginning of the season, and is the best 
of all the hawks for landrails. 



I once took a wild partridge with a spar- 
row-hawk of my own breaking, ten days 
after he had been taken wild from a wood. 



These hawks must be kept in high condition, 
and cannot fly when there is the least wind ; 
they are upon the whole more difficult to 
manage than stronger birds. , 



ON FEEDING. 

Hawks are not susceptible of attachment 
to their keeper ; nor do they, like the dog, 
pursue game for the pleasure of the sport. 
Hunger is in them the only inducement to 
action ; and in a wild, as in a domestic state, 
they remain almost motionless when their 
hunger is satisfied. It is, therefore, by this 
appetite alone that hawks can be governed — ■ 
it is the bridle that restrains them, and the 
spur that urges them to exertion ; and it is, 
therefore, on the right management of this 
primum mobile, that the success of the falconer 
must principally depend. 



The health of the hawk is the first thing 



54 

to be attended to ; for if he be not in full 
vigour, very little can of course be expected 
from him. I have already said, that fresh 
raw beef is the best food for hawks. It would 
be impossible to lay down rules for the quan- 
tity of food that is to be given to them, as it 
must depend upon the condition and beha- 
viour of each individual bird, and will, of 
course, vary from day to day j but the average 
is about one-third of a pound of beef a day 
for a slight falcon, and for other hawks in 
proportion. 



All hawks, to be kept in health, should 
have A gorge i that is, an abundant meal once 
in four or five days, and a moderate meal on 
each of the intervening days. It is easy to 
judge of the condition of a hawk by his 
weight, or by feeling the sides of his breast. 
Some hawks fly best when they are in high 
condition, and others when they are some- 
what lower. When, therefore, it has been 
ascertained in what state uf flesh any parti- 



55 

cular hawk flies best, his food should be re- 
gulated accordingly — it being always borne 
in mindj that it is far better that a hawk 
should be too high in keeping than too 
low. When it is found necessary to lower 
the condition of a hawk, his food may be 
considerably reduced for a day or two ; but 
the gorge every four or five days must on no 
account be omitted. 

This mode of treatment that has been 
adopted by the falconers, from long expe- 
rience, and appears to be consistent with the 
habits of birds of prey in a state of nature ; 
foF in rainy or windy weather, or where game 
ig scarce, they must frequently pass whole 
days without food ; and when they do obtain 
it, they will, of course, satisfy their voracious 
appetites by eating to excess. 

Hawks that are breaking must always be 
fed in the evening ; for it would be in vain to 




K '^"p* 



56 



expect them to come either to the tist or to 
the lure, when they are not hungry : and, 
beBides, nothing ia so contrary to the nature 
of these birds as to 6aii and struggle, when 
their stomachs are full : they should, there- 
fore, be kept as quiet as possible after they 
have been fed. 

The less a hawk is reclaimed, the sharper 
must he be set when any thing is required of 
him. This applies equally to luring, train- 
ing, coming to the fist, , and to flying at 
game. 

}: 

u . Hawks that want mettle must always be 
flown with a keen appetite ; but excess of 
hunger would not only be injurious to their 
health, but it would make them hover about 
the falconer for food, and be regardless of the 
game. There is, perhaps, no time at which a 
hawk's appetite is in so perfect a state, for 
any thing that may be required of him, as 




•57 
about one hour after his usual time of feed- 
ing, and when he has had rather a scanty 
meal on the preceding day. 
11 

• * I will suppose that hawks are to fly three 
days in the week, and endeavour to describe 
how they should be fed. It may, perhaps, 
serve as a sort of outline for the young fal- 
coner. The rest must depend upon his own 
judgment and discretion. 

Hawks should have a slight meal on the 
day before flying ; it should be more or less, 
according to the condition and behaviour of 
each particular bird. They should have a 
plentiful meal on the days that they have- 
flown ; and two whole days (on which they 
should be moderately fed,) ought to inter- 
venfe between that on which they have a 
gorge, and the day of flying. It is better not 
to fly hawks on two successive days : it may 
always, however, be done occasionally. They 



should be fed in the field the moment they 
have done flying. 



Hawks, (and probably moat, if not all 
other birds of prey) from fiseding on birds 
and animals with their coats on, and thus 
swallowing a quantity of indigestible matter, 
relieve themselves by throwing it up in the 
form of castings, which are oblong balls, 
consisting of the hair or feathers forcibly 
compressed together. The condition of the 
hawk may be judged of by the appearance 
and state of cohesion of this mass ; for when 
the bird is not in health, and the process of 
digestion not complete, the feathers, instead 
of being simply pressed into a ball, arc held 
together by a tenacious mucus, and mixed 
with particles of undigested meat. When 
hawks are fed solely on beef, the skin of a 
bird with the feathers on, or that of an animal 
with the fiir, should be given to them twice a 
week. Mice, lately killed, answer well for 



tills purpose : when none of these can be 
procured, feathers may be given with the 
beef as a substitute. It is to be observed 
that hawks, after having taken fur or feathers 
with their food, will not fly until they have 



ON BATHING. 

Hawks should bathe every five or six 
days, in a clear stream, or pool, of water, that 
is shallow at the edge ; but when these are 
not at hand, eyesses may be made to bathe in 
pans sufficiently large for the purpose. 



A moderate quantity of food is to be 
given to the hawk, before he is taken to the 
stream ; a creance is to be tied to the leash, 
and fastened to the ground ; he is then to be 
unhooded, and placed near the water. The 
falconer must then retire to a distance. When 



/ 



60 

the hawk has bathed^ he should be IdBt to 
plume himself on the beach^ as long as he 
rjemajnsquiQt, but he musj: be cautiously taken 
up the moment he shews signs of uneasiness^ 
lest he should bait in the -. cr&mce with a full 
crop, which is always to be prevented by every 
possible precaution. 



WEATHERING. 

To weather a hawk^ is to leave him un- 
faooded in the open air; eyesses may be 
weathered on their blocks^ but the passage 
hawks should be placed on a small hillock^ 
covered with turf^ and a few mouthfiills of 
food should be given to them when they 
are unhooded. 

IMPING. 

Whei4|^y of the flight or tail feathers 
of a hawk are accidentally broken^ the speed 



1^1 

of the bird ia so injured, that the falconer 
6nd8 it necessary to repair them, by an ex- 
pedient called imping. 

This curious process consists in attach- 
ing to the part that remains an exact substi- 
tute for the piece lost. For this purpose the 
falconer is always provided with pinions, (right 
and left) and with tail leathers of hawks, or 
with the feathers separated from the pinion, 
carefully preserved and numbered, so as to 
prevent mistake in taking a true match for 
the injured feather. He then with a sharp 
knife gently parts the web of the feather to 
be repaired, at its thickest part, and cuts the 
shaft obliquely forward, so as not to damage 
the web on the opposite edge. He next cuts 
the substitute feather as exactly as possible 
at the corresponding point, and with the same 
degree of slope. 



For the purpose of uniting them, he is 
provided with an iron needle, with broad tri- 



angular points at both ends ; and after wetting 
the needle with salt and water, he thrusts it 
into the centre of the pith of each part, as 
truly straight, and as nearly to the same 
length in each as may be. When this opera- 
tion has been skilfijlly performed, the junction 
is so neat that an inexperienced eye would 
hardly discern tlie point of union ; and as the 
ii-on rusts, from having been wetted with 
brine, there is little or no danger of sepa- 
ration. 



MEWING. 



The mew is the place where hawks are 
put to moult. They are sometimes kept loose 
in a room ; but it is, in my opinion, much 
better to mew them on perches or on blocks. 
Hawks must be fed very high, and kept very 
quiet when they mew ; they are also kept 
unhooded, and frequently bathed. 



63 



As it is difficult to procure Icelanders 
and gyrfalcons, these valuable birds are well 
worth mewing ; but as slight falcons and 
goshawks are easily obtained, much trouble 
and expense will be saved by getting young 
birds every year ; and as these do not cast 
their flight and tail feathers the first year, 

^they will be in order to fly in the autumn, 
when the older birds will be in moult. 



THE CAGE. 



The cage is an oblong frame, four feet 
six inches long and two feet wide, made of 
light wood, the sides and ends are of a proper 
size for hawks to perch upon, and a little 
wadded, that it may not injure their feet. It 
is supported, when placed on the ground, by 
four legs, about a foot long. Slight rods of 
hazel are fixed across each end, to prevent 
the hawks from falling on the inside when 



04 

they bait. A space of about twenty inches 
in length is left in the middle of the cage, 
in which the falconer places himself, carrying 
it by two straps that pass over his shoulders. 
The hawks are tied upon the cage as upon 
a perch, and by this contrivance many may 
be carried by one man. 

The cage, and other instriiments used 
in falconry, are well described in the plates 
of the French EncydoptBdiay printed in 1751. 



FINIS. 



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