Handling of the Bird

For proper handling, a falconry bird has to be fitted with jesses on each of its legs. Like dogs with collars and leads or horses with bits and reins, the birds can be handled with jesses during training, in the field and can be tethered in the breaks between hunting. There are different types of jesses in use depending on the species of bird and the cultural heritage of the falconer. Most often, in Western Falconry, Aylmeri bracelets are fitted: these are leather anklets (or bracelets) which are fitted around each tarsometatarsus.

Removable “jesses” made of either braided nylon cord or leather, handlingBirdare passed through the eyelets of the Aylmeri bracelets and connect together at a swivel. A leash is attached to the swivel and this is tied to the glove of the falconer or to the perch. This method allows for the jesses to be changed to un-slitted ones or to be removed altogether when the bird is flown free, so resulting in a minimum of encumbrance or risk of entanglement on the bird. (There is a considerable amount of further detail which relates to the application and use of jesses and that is suitable to a practical manual and not a motivation such as this).

Birds of prey are almost solely visually orientated. To avoid stress in unfamiliar environments or to prevent them from bating at unhuntable prey, hoods are of immense value.