Falconry :- "The art of hunting wild quarry in it's natural habitat using a trained Bird of Prey".
A Falconer :- "One who practices the art of falconry using a trained falcon".
An Austringer :- " One who practices the art of falconry using a trained hawk".
The terms used above are the "real" definitions of falconers and falconry. However, the public percieve falconers as anyone they see with a Bird of Prey, or even an owl. This is certainly not the case. There are many excellent falconers, and there are many really bad Bird of Prey owners. There are many who class themselves as "falconers", who are nothing more than wildlife killers. They do not use their birds to kill prey to eat, or pest control, they kill for the sake of killing.
The Bird of Prey Centre is not a Falconry Centre, I certainly do not class myself as a falconer, except when I am hunting with one of the Hawks.
I actively discourage people from taking on Birds of Prey,including Owls. There are many pre-requisites before anyone considers owning a Hawk.
1. Do you have permission to hunt on ground containing adequate and suitable prey ?
2. What type of prey is available ?
3. The type of prey available will dictate the species of Hawk you hunt with.
4. Do you know someone who has, and hunts, the species of Hawk you require ?
5. Is that person willing to allow you to accompany them on hunting trips to enable you to learn the sport ?
6. Is that person willing to act as your mentor for the period of time required for you to become competent ?
7. Is that person willing to assist in your training ?
8. Do you have the time and committment to provide for the Hawk ?
9. Do you have adequate space for the Hawk's accommodation ?
10. Is there a local vet who is proficient in the care and treatment of Birds of Prey ?
These are just a few of the questions you must be able to answer "YES" to, before you even consider buying a Bird of Prey, or, consider yourself a "Falconer".