can you own birds of prey

Intangible cultural heritage editMain article:

Falconry, a living human heritage
UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage
Country Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates
Domains Knowledge and practices
Reference 01708
Inscription history
Inscription 2021 (16th session)
List Representative

“Originally a means of obtaining food, falconry has acquired other values over time and has been integrated into communities as a social and recreational practice and as a way of connecting with nature,” the nominators noted in their justification for inclusion on the list. Nowadays, falconry is practiced by individuals of all ages in numerous nations. Being a significant cultural symbol in many of those nations, it is passed down from generation to generation in a number of ways, such as through training clubs, families, and mentorship. [55].

Regulations edit

Unlike the United States, Great Britain allows falconry without a special license; however, the use of birds other than captive-bred birds is prohibited. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and other lobby groups attempted to have falconry made illegal during the long, historic debates in Westminster during the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Bill, but these were successfully resisted. The Falconry Act of 1981 gave the sport official legal status in the UK after it had existed informally for centuries. As long as all captive raptors that were native to the country were ringed and registered with the government, the sport was permitted to continue. DNA testing was also available to verify birds origins. Since 1982, the Chief Wildlife Act Inspector for Great Britain, with support from a group of unpaid assistant inspectors, has been in charge of overseeing the licensing requirements set forth by the British government. A white gyrfalcon.

For their sport, British falconers are solely dependent on birds raised in captivity. Although it is legal and requires a government license, the taking of raptors from the wild for falconry has not been permitted in recent decades.

It is legal for anyone to own legally registered or captive-bred raptors, but falconers are quick to clarify that this is not the same as falconry, which involves using a trained bird to hunt live prey. Even though it might be legal, a raptor kept only as a pet or possession is not regarded as a falconer’s bird. After their hunting days are over, birds can be kept or used for breeding, but falconers think it’s best to fly young, healthy birds at prey.

Hybrid falcons edit

The species in the genus Falco are closely related to one another, and certain combinations result in viable offspring. Given their close kinship with the Asiatic saker and the heavy northern gyrfalcon, it is unclear if the Altai falcon is a subspecies of the saker or descended from naturally occurring hybrids. It has been observed that peregrine and prairie falcons breed in the wild and produce offspring. [29] Although extra-pair copulations between closely related species may occur more frequently and/or account for the majority of naturally occurring hybridization, these pairings are thought to be rare. While very few first-generation female hybrids lay fertile eggs, some male first-generation hybrids may have viable sperm. Therefore, it is believed that naturally occurring hybridization has little bearing on gene flow in raptor species.

When seasoned falconers Ronald Stevens and John Morris placed a male saker and a female peregrine into the same moulting mews for the spring and early summer, the two mated and produced offspring—the first hybrid falcon produced in captivity—in western Ireland.

Since the late 1970s, captive-bred hybrid falcons have been available, and in the 1990s, their popularity in North America and the UK skyrocketed. Originally, hybrids were “created” to combine the size and horizontal speed of gyrfalcons with the peregrine’s good nature and aerial ability. The demand for particularly large and aggressive female falcons that were willing and able to take on the very large houbara bustard—the traditional falconry quarry in the West Asian deserts—led to the initial widespread popularity of hybrid falcons throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Due to their propensity to tolerate a respiratory illness (aspergillosis from the mold genus Aspergillus) in demanding desert conditions better than other pure species from the Northern Hemisphere, these falcons were also highly favored by Arab falconers.


Can you have a bird of prey as a pet?

Raptors are not pets, and they do not behave like parrots. They are predators, and as such they are inherently dangerous and are forever wild. Raptors taken from the wild are always considered “wild raptors” and cannot be sold, but they may be gifted to other falconers.

Why is it illegal to own a bird of prey?

Birds of prey receive protection by at least one federal law, and usually by many state and local laws too. These are: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act – makes it illegal to possess or kill any native migratory bird or any of its parts.

Can birds of prey be tamed?

No bird of prey can be tamed as in making it a pet, but they can be trained for falconary. To have a bird of prey in the US requires federal permits plus training with a master falconer for at least two years before you can get the federal permit for the bird.

Are all birds of prey protected?

Raptors, also referred to as “birds of prey”, are a valuable resource to the State of California, and therefore all raptors are protected under State law (See Fish and Game Code, Sections 3503, 3503.5, 3505 and 3513, and California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Sections 251.1, 652 and 783-786.6).