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Falconry

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



FALCONRY, or, as it is more commonly termed, Hawkins is the art of training birds for the chase, and of bringing them into such discipline and under such control that they will exert their marvellous powers at the pleasure of man. This is one of the oldest forms of sport that has ever been pursued by men of all nationalities. Sir A. Layard, in his work on Nineveh and Babylon, mentions that in a bas-relief found by him in the ruins of Khorsabad there was a figure depicted of a " falconer bearing a hawk upon his wrist." This would establish the fact that falconry existed as early as 1200 B.C. Colonel Delmie Radcliffe states that it was known in China about 2000 B.C. and in Japan at least 600 B.C. It is certain that in almost all countries of Asia it is the most ancient, as it was, and in some countries is now, the most popular of all sports.

In Europe among the most ancient writers who mention the subject are Aristotle, Pliny, and Martial. Pliny says that " In a part of Thracia beyond Amphipolis men and hawks join in fellowship and catch birds together, for the men drive the woods and beat the bushes and reeds to spring the fowl; then the hawks, flying over their heads, seize upon them and either strike or bear them to the ground, fit for their hands. On the other side the hawkers and fowlers, when they have caught the fowl, divide the booty with the hawks, and, by report, let such birds fly again at liberty aloft in the air and then are the hawks ready to catch them for themselves. Moreover, when the time is of hawking, they will by their manner of cry and flying together give sign to the falconer that there is good game abroad, and so draw them forth to take the opportunities." Thus Pliny on falconry in his day ; and if it does not quite well accord with the ideas of the present generation as to the proper management of the sport, yet it is a record that hawking of one kind or another was followed, and on a considerable scale, at that date.

To come to falconry in Great Britain, records are extant of its practice in early Saxon times. In a letter addressed by King Ethelbert, A.D. 748, to Saint Boniface, Archbishop of Mayence, the King asks for two falcons to fly at the crane. In Asser's life of Alfred the Great, the "incomparable felicity" of the king in hunting and hawking, as well as " in all the other gifts of God," is greatly enlarged upon. In the British Museum are numerous early manuscripts ranging from those above cited, through Saxon times (including one attributed to Edward the Confessor), into the Norman period. With the Conquest, falconry became not only the sport of the country gentleman, but also the appanage ,of the courtier. In the Bayeux tapestry Harold is depicted embarking for Normandy with a hawk, and after the Conquest the strictest regulations were made as to the class of hawk which each man in his rank or degree might keep. These ran as follows:

The Eagle and the Vulture for an Emperor.

The Gerfalcon and Tiercel of the Gerfalcon for a King. The Falcon gentle and Tiercel gentle for a Prince. The Falcon of the Rock for a Duke.

The Falcon Peregrine for an Earl.

The Bastard for a Baron,

The Sacre and Sacret for a Knight.

The Lanner or Lanneret for an Esquire.

The Merlin for a lady.

The Hobby for a young man.

The Goshawk for a yeoman.

The Tiercel (? of the Goshawk) for a poor man.

The Sparrow-hawk for a priest.

The Musket for a holy-water clerk.

The Kestrel for a knave.

Emperors, it may be concluded, would, except on state occasions, have no use for the birds allotted to them, while princes, dukes, and earls would carry the same bird under a different name. The list seems to be made out more to emphasise the various differences in rank than to prove that the hawks named were actually used by the several classes of men to whom they were allotted.

Throughout the Norman and Tudor periods falconry was the principal sport of the aristocracy. Apart from its superiority both as a pastime and a science, it afforded one of the principal means of supplying the table with delicacies. Herons were considered a choice dish, and these, with various sorts of game, were captured mainly with hawks in the days before " vile saltpetre" was introduced to make it easy to compass the death of any wild fowl.

In Professor Newton's Notes on Hawking in Norfolk (an appendix to, Stevenson's Birds of Norfolk) we find an account of the visits of James I. to Thetford in the month of May for the purpose of hawking dotterels. The sparrow-hawk appears to have been used, and whether a net was also brought into requisition or not seems doubtful. At Royston, it is recorded how his Majesty partook of the sport of kite hawking, and how both kite and falcon soared to such a pitch that neither was seen again. The Grand Falconer of England was, during this reign, Sir Patrick Hume, who was afterwards succeeded by Sir Thomas Monson. The latter took so much trouble with his charge that Sir Anthony Weldon, in his Court and Character of King James, records that the " Master Falconer, Sir Thomas Monson, was in truth such an one as no Prince in Christendom had, for what flights other Princes had he would excel them for his Master, in which one was at the kite. Sir Thomas Monson desired to have that flight in all exquisiteness, and to that end was at L1,000 charge for falcons for that flight. In all that charge he never had but one cast would perform it, and those had killed nine kites and never missed one." The professional falconers under him were John Wood, with his brothers Robert and Luke Wood for assistants. Besides hawks they trained cormorants for fishing. Luke Wood was sent with three cormorants to Venice, but had his cormorants taken from him en route by the Duke of Savoy, " to his great loss and hindrance."

John Wood himself seems to have been a falconer of no little renown-one that, as was said of him, would "toss up a lure in a second that one might have taken for a partridge one-self," and " seemed to know what sort of relish to give their food by the very feel of their beaks under his finger." But from the days of this excellent falconer history takes a long stride before recording the name of another such professor of the art. The wars of the Common-wealth had intervened, and recreation had to play second fiddle to sterner pursuits. Gunpowder and fowling pieces had been introduced, and falconry was never again to take the place it had formerly held, both as a sport and as an appanage to the general establishment of the nobleman and the country squire. But about 1750 we find Lord Orford practising falconry in the highest style, with the aid, however, of Dutch falconers instead of the old English names. He was very successful in the flight at the kite, which must undoubtedly have been the highest form in which the sport of falconry could be carried on. This flight he pursued both on the warrens of Norfolk and Suffolk, and at Alconbury Hill in Huntingdonshire. Some twenty years later his establishment of hawks passed into the hands of a club known as the " Falconers' Society," later the Falconers' Club, and meetings were held every April for " kite and crow hawking." The establishment in 1783 consisted of "32 slight falcon& (or peregrines), 13 German hawks (goshawks), and 7 Iceland falcons." About this period the notorious Colonel Thornton was manager, and controlled the destinies of the Club. From 1792 to 1838 the Club was under the control of Lord Berners, and the establishment was known as the High Ash Club-at this time they flew mainly at herons.

During these days there were doubtless many other establishments of hawks-a few of them large, but mostly small. In Scotland, many a gamekeeper had a knowledge of how to train falcons taken by himself on the ground in his charge. A more pretentious establishment was that of the Renfrewshire subscription hawks, under the control of the famous Scotch falconer John Anderson, and kept solely for game hawking at Barochan Castle. The Duke of Leeds, too, had a magnificent team of hawks flying on Deeside at game and woodcocks, with John Pells and Peter Ballantyne as his falconers. In 1839 the Falconers' Club, finding that kites were extinct and herons getting scarce on open ground in Norfolk, formed, under the auspices of the Royal Family of Holland, the Loo Hawking Club. These were the palmy days of modern falconry, and, under the management of the English-controlled Club and the falconers of the King of Holland, sport was shown such as has never been surpassed. In 1853 the Club came to an end, and hawking has never since been carried on in Holland on a large scale. After a brief interregnum the present " Old Hawking Club " was started, and, under the management of Mr. E. Clough Newcome, who had been for many years the chief guiding spiritof the Loo Hawking Club, fine sport was shown in rook hawking on the Wiltshire downs-the best substitute for heron hawking-and also at game of all kinds in Scotland and England.. In 1871 Mr. Newcome died, and in 1872 the Club was re-organized on a larger basis under the auspices of the late Lord Lilford-one of the best of falconers, and the Hon. Cecil Duncombe, and was placed under the management of the Hon. Gerald Lascelles. Since that time it has continued to provide good sport for its. members in every branch of falconry, besides training various young falconers, and providing. hawks for a number of beginners whose efforts with an untrained bird could only result in failure.

Of private establishments in England may be named those of Major Fisher, one of the most successful of game hawkers ; Mr. T. J. Mann, also a game hawker ; Mr. W. H. St. Quintin, whose skilful training of peregrines to fly at the sea-gull, as well as his successes with game hawks, entitles him to rank among the best falconers of the century ; Mr. Radcliffe, who. hawks many peregrines annually in Dorsetshire ; the Hon. C. W. Mills, who has chiefly cultivated the goshawk; and Mr. Arthur Newall, whose achievements with that variety of hawk are only rivalled by those of Sir Henry Boynton, of Burton Agnes. Mr. Riley, the Rev. G. E. Freeman, so well known as an able writer on falconry, the Rev. W. Willmott, and Mr. F. Salvin all bear names that are as household words among falconers, even if they no longer train hawks themselves ; and there are many other gentlemen who have, with no mean success, taken up this difficult branch of sport.

A science so ancient, and for many centuries. so popular as was falconry, has naturally both a language and a literature of its own. As to the former, a glossary of the terms used in falconry at the present time will be found at the end of this article. In former years such a glossary would have been far more comprehensive-every part of a hawk's body, and every action it could indulge in, was dignified by some special name. Many of these terms are obsolete nowa-days, but all those in general use will be found appended.

Of literature there exist books on falconry in every tongue that has been spoken since the days of Babel. The oldest of our English works is the well-known Boke of St. Albans, a treatise on Hunting, Hawking and Coat Armour, first edition, 1486. Various other editions followed,, and works by different authors, but-to give only the principal and most serviceable thereof -the next work of importance is that of George Turbervile (which contains several very interesting woodcuts), first edition 1575, second 1611. This work is generally bound up with the same author's treatise on hunting, and is a most interesting and excellent work on both subjects.

The same period saw the publication of Symon Latham's Falcons' Lure and Cure, which is in many respects the best work on falconry published in the English language. It is, moreover, original, while the work of Turbervile is avowedly " collected," and is in fact a translation of sundry older works written in foreign languages.

The first edition of Latham was published in 1615, the New and Second Booke on Faulconry in 1618, and the second edition of both works in 1633. At this time, under the auspices of King James I., himself an able and active falconer, the literature and probably the sport of falconry flourished exceedingly. A year or two after the publication of the last named work, appeared An Approved Treatise of Hawks and Hawking, by Edmund Bert, Gentleman. This book deals entirely with the management of the short-winged hawks - the goshawk and .sparrow-hawk. It is an original work, and apparently copied in no part from any previous writer, and is a most practical and excellent treatise. Except for the absurd physicking and doctoring of hawks which seems to .have been the prevailing practice of the day, it may be said that any beginner who has mastered all that is contained in these two last cited books, and has the skill to put it in practice, is master of the art of falconry.

In 1674 appeared the first edition of the Gentleman's Recreation, by Nicholas Cox, a work dealing with sport of all kinds, but not containing much original matter ; and the like may be said of a more magnificent folio, entitled The Gentleman's Recreation, by Richard Blome, published in 1686, with a series of copper-plate engravings (many of them highly interesting) depicting the manner of pursuing all kinds of sport at that period, and each dedicated to some one of the noblemen and gentlemen who were exponents of these various pursuits and were {presumably) subscribers to what must have been a costly work. We may pass from this period to the year 1773, when a treatise by James Campbell on " Modern Falconry," was published in Edinburgh. That part of the work which really treats of falconry is excellent and reliable, but a ridiculous preface is attached to it describing fabulous sports, which spoils a book otherwise worthy enough. Sir John Sebright's Observations upon Hawking, published in 186, has only one fault, 'viz., that it is too concise ; and in 1841 appeared an original work -on falconry by James Belany, not very accurate or reliable.

In 1855 appeared what must be called the standard English work of modern times appertaining to falconry in England, viz., Falconry in the British Isles, by Messrs. Salvin and Brodrick, :second edition (amended and added to), 1873. The illustrations to the work are excellent, and the letterpress is practical, and in the main reliable. This book is one that no falconershould omit to procure, if possible. Falconry -its History, Claims, and Practice, by G. E. Freeman and F. Salvin, appeared in 1895, and is a thoroughly practical treatise so far as the training of the eyas and the merlin is concerned. In 1892 was published the volume of the Bad-mint in Library on Falconry (bound up with that on Coursing), and in this volume the literature of hawking and its modern practice was brought thoroughly up to date, and to its pages we may refer readers who desire the fullest information on these subjects. Space fails us to record the various works in foreign languages which treat of this subject. The earliest printed book on falconry is a German one, published at Augsburg in 1472. Of French works we may mention the ancient ones of Jean de Franchieres, first published in 1531, with subsequent additions ranging up to 1628. Especially should be noticed la Fauconnerie, by Charles d'Arcussia, first issue 1598, but published in successive parts until the complete volume was published in 1627. This is one of the most original and interesting works on falconry that has ever been written.

The most magnificent is perhaps the grand work of Schlegl and Wulverhorst-Traite' de Faucmnerie, published at Leyden, 1844-53, and illustrated by J. Wolff. The accounts of the hawking at the Loo, by the Falconers' Club, referred to above, are most interesting, and the magnificent plates are unrivalled.

Some interesting modern Japanese works, profusely illustrated with pictures of hawking scenes; are in the possession of the author. A magnificent Persian manuscript on vellum, richly illuminated in the margins, is in the possession of the family of the late Prince Dhuleep Singh. At the sale of his various effects this volume was bought in by his family at the price of 410, up to which figure various collectors were willing to bid for its possession. For fuller details of hawking literature we may refer our readers to Mr. J. E. Harting's valuable Bibliotheca Accipitraria, wherein a most complete history of the works on this subject will be found.

The hawks used in falconry are of two groups (1) the true falcons or long-winged hawks;-distinguished by a tooth or indentation in the upper mandible ; by the formation of the wing, in which the second feather is the longest ; and by the iris of the eye, which is of so dark a brown as to give the effect of an eye full, bright, and of an uniform blackness. (2) The true or short-winged hawks ; -these have rounded wings, the fourth feather being the longest ; their tails are long in proportion to the wings, and the irides are yellow, changing with age to orange or deep red. They are the hawks of the woods and enclosed country, as the falcons are the lords of the open downs and wild moors. The habits of the two species are entirely different, and so, naturally, is their training. The first are termed " hawks of the lure," the second " hawks of the fist." Of the first, or nobler kind of falcon, those used in England are (1) the Peregrine : (a) the Northern falcons, viz., the Norwegian variety or Falco gyr-falco; the Iceland variety, Falco islandicus; and the Greenland variety, Falco candicans ; for purposes of falconry these three varieties may be treated as one. (3) The Merlin; (4) The Hobby -rarely used. In India there are used, besides the peregrine, which in that country, as in all others, is the main " stand-by " of the falconer, the black shaheen-Falco peregrinator; the rednaped shaheen-Falco babylonicus; the lugger, the cherugh or sacre, used for flying kites, and a variety of the merlin, as well as the European merlin (F. oesalon).

Besides these, rarer species are occasionally trained, such as the lanner, the Barbary falcon, and the like; but the management of these varieties is but a tour de force on the part of the falconer who may chance to acquire them. Of the short winged hawks, only two varieties are in general use, viz., the Goshawk, Astur palumbarius ; and the Sparrow-hawk, Accipiter nisus. In India two varieties of the latter are also used, termed respectively the Besra and the Shikra.

In addition to these birds, regularly used in falconry, there are in some countries certain varieties of eagles used for purposes of sport. Of these, Bonelli's eagle is probably the principal one, and this variety has been successfully trained to take rabbits in Europe of late years by M. Paul Gervais. In Central Asia the golden eagle is said to be used and to be flown at both foxes and wolves, but neither of these birds can be said to be used in modern falconry except occasionally.

In this country, as in almost all others, the training of the peregrine is the principal business that is practised. It may be divided into two parts-the training of the eyas, or bird taken from the nest and reared in confinement or partially so, and the reclaiming of the "passage" or wild-caught falcon, entrapped during the migration or "passage" from north to south in the autumn. The first named of these-the eyas -is usually flown at game of all kinds-pigeons,blackbirds, and all the minor quarry. It is naturally more tractable, less easily lost, and more easily managed. A mistake as to condition or training will probably result in some little-trouble in re-capturing the bird, but with the wild-caught hawk a similar error would cause the total loss of the falcon.

On the other hand, the wild-caught hawk is, as a rule, higher couraged, swifter, better tempered, and in the proper hands more efficient than any eyas except a peculiarly good one. It is generally used for the rook, the heron, the sea-gull, and similar quarry with which the eyas cannot, as a general rule, cope. When trained to "wait on " for game-especially grouse the passage hawk flies in finer form, and is better than any but the very best eyases. To sum up, the case : a good eyas is as good as a hawk need be, but only one in twenty is to be met with ; while out of three passage hawks you may hope to find one that will be superior to nineteen eyases. out of twenty, especially if you are aiming at la haute. volee.

Eyases, or nest-ling peregrines, can be procured from the cliffs at most of the lofty headlands. of the United King-dom. They are also bred at many inland precipices in the deer forests of Scotland, in most of which they are well preserved. Great care must be exercised in taking, them, for unless this be properly attended to the birds will never be worth their keep. They should never be removed from the nest until the. white down which covers them in the early days. of their existence is entirely replaced by brown feathers-in short, a few days only before they can fly. Hawks taken while in the down can be reared, sometimes, but they are very apt to. be attacked by a disease called cramp, which is a contraction, apparently, of the muscles of the thighs and legs, so powerful as often to fracture the young and soft bones, and always to leave the limbs paralysed. It is incurable, and a. hawk affected with it ever so slightly should be destroyed at once. Even if hawks thus taken should be reared, they invariably turn out bad tempered screaming brutes, not worth their railway carriage. Young peregrines well taken are well worth apiece. Those that are ill-taken are dear at almost any price.

Should a nest of peregrines taken in proper order be received, the next step is to rear them properly. To do this they must be fed, and well fed, three times a day at first. Tender beef is the best food, rabbit once a day is permissible, and if warm pigeons, fowls, or even rooks or squirrels can be obtained, freshly killed, they make a good change. But regular and plentiful feeding is essential while the feathers are growing. A curious defect is often seen in the feathers of young hawks, called " hunger trace." It appears in the form of a mark in the web of the feather as though a knife had been drawn sharply across it, half severing the fibres. It will often be apparent right across the tail, every feather being affected. It also appears in the wing feathers, but not so often. Frequently it affects the quill of the feather, and may be felt as a little projecting ridge. In this case it is a serious matter, for the feather is sure to break at that point sooner or later. This defect is caused by irregular feeding, or possibly by a long journey when young. Sometimes, in wild hawks, the stronger nestlings have deprived the weaker of food, or from stress of weather, or the loss of one of the parent birds by the shot gun of some villainous " collector," the whole family has been reduced to short commons. But in either case, where a temporary starvation occurred, the growth of the feather is checked, and the " hunger trace " appears at the point where the feather was, at the time, " just in the blood." Hawks well taken, carefully transmitted, and well reared, do not often have " hunger traces."

The less that the young hawks see of their feeder the better at this period of their career. Eyases are easily made too tame and confidential, and generally show their familiarity by loud screaming and petulance. The first thing to do is to get a little native wildness into them before they are tamed or trained. An ideal place for rearing is a loft or outhouse, with a door opening on to some wild park or secluded ground. There the hawks should be fed by simply placing the food before them as quietly and as quickly as may be, and leaving them to themselves. As they get strong and able to fly, the door may be opened, and they may extend their flights to the neighbouring trees or rails. The pangs of hunger will bring them home to the accustomed board on which their food is placed, which may now be moved to some conspicuous place outside the original loft. By degrees the flight will be extended, but always the young hawks will return to their food, which may now be given to them twice a day only. Soon they will be seen soaring at vast heights, and will range to great distances ; and when this state of things arrives-say, in a fortnight or three weeks-the time for catching the hawks has come. To explain this, we must describe some of the tackle which is in generaluse. Before the young hawk was allowed to fly at all, " jesses " were placed on her legs. These are two short strips of soft strong leather, such as soft horse-skin or well-tanned dog-skin. They are about a quarter of an inch wide for most of their length (which is about eight inches), and half an inch wide for about two inches at one end, where they encircle the hawk's leg (see Two slits are made in this wider part, about an inch and a half apart, and, the jess being placed round the hawk's leg, the short end is passed through the slit nearest the middle of the jess ; the longer end is brought through both slits and run down to its full length, by which means the jess is neatly knotted round the leg. At the long end of the jess, furthest from the hawk, is a slit about an inch long, which is passed over a swivel (Fig. 2) when the hawk is to be tied down. The end of the jess is passed through one ring of the swivel, and both rings then passed through the slit at the end of the jess. Through the lower ring of the swivel, which should be made of brass, is run the " leash," a thong of leather about a yard long, with a " button " at one end, by which the hawk can be fastened to the block or screen-perch. The latter is generally a pole about three inches in diameter (the plainer and rougher the better) that has had fastened to it a breadth of canvas about a yard wide, hanging loosely down from the under side of the pole to which it is nailed. The object of this canvas is to enable a hawk which has fluttered off the perch to regain its position, and, at the same time, to ensure that it shall come up on the same side from which it fell, so that it cannot get twisted round the perch. Of blocks, the simplest are the best. A plain billet of hard wood, with the bark left on about a foot high, with an iron spike driven firmly into the lower end, which is to be driven into the ground to hold the block in position, and with a staple driven into the centre of the upper surface, is as good as any-thing. Various improvements for fastening the leash to running rings around the blocks have been devised, but only a few are effective. Bells, either one or two, according to size, should be placed on the hawk's legs. They are fastened on by short straps, called " bewits," on the same principle as the jesses are placed on the legs. The best bells are Indian made, and few others are now in use. Jesses and bells remain permanently on the hawk, and with these the young falcon was equipped before she left her rearing loft. They remain on her all the time she is at hack, and the instrument by which she is to be brought to hand is the bow-net. This is a circular net about three feet in diameter. One half of its circumference is fastened to a light hazel rod bent into a " bow " or semi-circular shape. To the centre of the bow is fastened a line, not less than fifty yards long. In order to set the net, it is spread out on the ground and the loose half of the circle pegged down. Then the bow is laid back, as if hinged on to the fixed half, and the slack part of the net is tucked away under the bow, and concealed by grass, leaves, &c. A piece of meat is fastened in the exact centre of the net, and it is obvious that if the bow be pulled sharply forward the net spreads exactly over the meat and the hawk which has come to feed on it. By such a net as this, set in the immediate vicinity of the board where the hawk comes to feed, each one can be readily captured when required. Jesses and bells are on its legs, the leash and swivel are readily applied, a hood is placed on its head, and it can be tied to a block and left to settle down at once.

Hoods are usually made in Holland, Attempts by the falconer to make them usually end in failure. Very good hoods are used of the Indian pattern (Fig. 4), which is in some ways superior to the Dutch pattern, beinglighter and more comfortable, but easy for a hawk to get off, and therefore only suitable for use when the hawk is on hand. A third form of hood is the rufter hood, but this is only used for freshly caught wild hawks-it cannot be taken on and off, and though comfortable to the hawk is only suitable for use in the earlier stages of training.

Training the freshly caught eyas falcon consists, in the first place, of taking her on the fist hooded, and, by constant carriage and handling, gradually taming her. Ere long she can be induced to feed off a piece of meat held under her feet, after her attention is directed to it by stroking or pressing them. As soon as she will pull keenly at this meat through the hood, the meat is offered to her when she is bare-headed, at first, it may be, by candle-light (which has a taming and subduing effect upon all wild birds). In a short time she will, with care and patience, feed as readily bare-headed as she did through the hood. The next stage is to get her to jump to the hand from the perch for food, and this, as soon as she will feed keenly on the fist, she will do ; at first a distance of a few inches, which may be gradually increased till she will come the whole length of the mews or outhouse, which may be converted to the use of the hawks.

As soon as the young falcon will feed readily on the fist and will jump to it for food, the "lure " must be introduced. This is the instrument by which the hawk is to be recalled to its trainer from a distance when on the wing, and it must therefore be associated in the bird's mind with reward for obedience and with food. For training purposes, it Is usually constructed of a bent piece of metal such as a horse-shoe, well padded with tow and covered with leather, the object being to make the lure too heavy to be carried and so soft that a hawk cannot injure itself by stooping hard at it. This padded horse-shoe is then covered over with the wings of birds so as to resemble a dead quarry, and furnished with strings to which meat is fastened. For a day or two the hawk is fed on this lure. As soon as it is accustomed to it, the lure, well furnished with food, is tossed to a distance, and the hawk allowed to fly to it, and to "feed up." In a few days the pupil will hasten to it from as great a distance as it can be seen, and may then be termed a trained hawk. As soon as it will thus fly to the lure, the falconer, after calling it from a distance, will conceal the lure as the hawk approaches him. This will cause it to fly round him, ringing upwards, expectant of its food : after thus keeping it " waiting on," as it is termed, the lure is thrown out and the hawk rewarded. When a few lessons of the kind have been given, the hawk will wait on its master for a considerable time, never straying far from him; and yet, if a good one, rising higher and higher, the longer it is kept on the wing. A few live pigeons given from the hand will go far towards raising its pitch and imparting dash and keenness to the young hawk. When this stage has been reached, the young falcon is fit to fly at game. The first essay should be from a steady point at grouse or partridges in a good open country. The falcon should be "waiting on" as high as she will go, somewhat up wind of the dog. The falconer should have " headed the point " and got the birds between himself and the setter. When the hawk is well placed he will flush the birds, and should the young falcon kill readily she may be considered as well " entered," and the rest of her career depends solely upon plenty of work and good chances.

With eyas falcons may be killed grouse, partridges, wild ducks, pheasants in the open,--game in fact of all sorts. Tiercels so trained will kill magpies and partridges well, and even give good sport at blackbirds, in certain places. For general purposes they may be termed the most useful description of hawk that can be employed.

The passage, or wild caught peregrine, is trained in precisely the same manner as the eyas, but, as it is far wilder and more shy, its education must proceed more gradually. The falconer must take infinitely more time and care, but the steps, though slower, are the same in character. More time and more patience are needed to induce the passage hawk to feed readily on the fist. When it will do this by candle-light, care and time will be required before the same degree of confidence is won by day-light. So also, in training to the lure, much time and care must be exercised in accustoming the hawk to that essential attractionwhile she is confined in a long string, and before she flies loose. But with patience and skill all shyness can be overcome. Starvation must never be resorted to. By its means the hawk can readily be reduced to subjection, but when so reduced it is but a worthless, and generally unhealthy, creature, useless for any purpose. The great object of the falconer must be to induce his timid pupil to feed well and keenly, and to rely on time and patience to effect its reclamation and to win its confidence. In all cases, the greatest care must be taken to accustom each hawk so completely to the use of the hood that she will allow herself to be hooded without trouble.

Passage hawks are generally, for their first season, flown " out of the hood," i.e., straight at the quarry. This, generally, is the rook, heron, or some similar bird, according to the country where it is used. The higher training of " waiting on" is not always needed before the hawk is used, but it follows very rapidly when once the hawk is accustomed to look to her master for the lure. Once that is learned, there are no hawks steadier, more gentle, or more satisfactory to deal with than the wild caught ones. In ability they are, naturally, as professionals to amateurs. They have maintained themselves, and in some cases reared broods by the power of their flight, whereas the eyases have never flown at a wild bird, except one flushed for them by their master.

The Gerfalcon, in its three varieties, whether that of Greenland, Iceland, or Scandinavian, is the noblest falcon-in appearance at least-of all that are trained by man. In performance, however,it is apt to be somewhat disappointing. Most of the specimens used in this country are ship-caught birds or nestlings badly reared. In either case their plumage is so damaged and broken that they have to stand idle for a long time till the moulting season restores to them their powers of flight. Such hawks can hardly be said to have a fair chance. But in 1869, and again in 1876, falconers who were sent to Iceland and to Norway returned with consignments of these hawks in splendid order. Whether the art of training them is lost, or from what other causes failure arose, is uncertain, but only a few of these noble birds realised the expectations that were formed of them. Those that did were perhaps the finest hawks that have ever been flown in this country. But the damp climate was against them, the lungs of one hawk after another became affected, and before very long all the lot died. A very fine tiercel was caught in Holland in 1878, and was trained successfully by the falconer to the Old Hawking Club, eventually turning out to be a brilliant rook hawk. But the special quarry for these falcons in old days was always the kite, which is now extinct in these islands, so that the chief object in training them is lost and the modern falconer, especially the beginner, will act wisely if he con-fines his efforts to training the peregrine.

The merlin is the smallest of the hawks used in falconry. It is a true falcon, though in some respects it is allied to the hawks. It possesses courage altogether out of proportion to its size, and, though not larger than a dove, will kill pigeons or partridges larger than itself. It is, however, hest, and chiefly used for flying at larks -a beautiful form of falconry resembling heron hawking in miniature. Two merlins are gene-rally used, and the lark in his efforts to escape will usually ring into the very clouds, often out-flying the hawks, which will follow him frequently till all three become lost as specks in the clear sky. Merlins are best kept loose in a large room, and called to hand when wanted for use. They are very delicate, and must be fed sparingly in the morning, and fully when the day's sport is over. It is the exception for them to be kept alive through their first winter, though some have been kept until the second.

The hobby is another miniature falcon, possessed of even more exquisite powers of flight than the merlin, but of less courage. It is hardier and more easily trained, but cannot be relied upon to follow its quarry with perseverance.

The merlin breeds freely on the moors in the northern counties of England and in Scotland. Its nest is on the ground and usually contains four young. The hobby, on the contrary, is a breeder in the southern and midland counties of England, and nests in trees.

Of the true hawks, as opposed to the falcons,-distinguished by having a smooth upper mandible in-stead of a tooth or festoon, by a yellow or orange iris to the eye, and by a long tail with short rounded wings, in-stead of long pointed ones-only two varieties are used, viz., the goshawk and the sparrow-hawk. The goshawk breeds freely in France, Germany, and Scandinavia, but has been practically unknown in a wild state in this country for fifty years past. It is of larger size than the peregrine, and exceedingly powerful in its grip, so that it can take rabbits with ease. The stronger females can readily hold a full-grown hare. The male is flown at partridges in enclosed country-at pheasants, water-hens, and birds of slow flight, and the strongest will take rabbits well enough.

Short-winged hawks are only hooded when travelling. They require constant carriage at all times to accustom them to strange objects of every sort, and to keep them tame and in good heart. Training consists in thus taming them till they feed readily on the hand ; then in accustoming them to jump to the hand for food. Gradually the distance is lengthened till the hawk will come to the falconer's fist, with or without food, as far as she can see him. As an old writer says : " She should know no perch but my fist, and when she goes to rest I will go with her." A hawk thus trained to regard the fist as her home, her feeding-place, and her resting-perch, will never give trouble by taking perch in trees and refusing to be called down ; but such a result can only be gained by incessant care, patience, and perseverance. Bagged rabbits are necessary to enter the hawk with, and afterwards excellent sport may be obtained at wild ones sitting out in grass parks or fields. A goshawk intended for hares should be kept solely to them-if accustomed to an easier quarry they will cease to persevere at one that taxes them severely. Goshawks should be kept on a bow perch or on the screen-perch in the mews. They must never be allowed to be near other hawks or falcons, as they are very prone to "crab" or fight with them, and will inevitably kill them.

Sparrowhawks are trained in the same way as goshawks, but they are delicate and highly nervous little things, requiring care and gentleness in their management as well as infinite patience. They are usually flown at blackbirds and thrushes beaten out of hedgerows, and the best females take partridges well. Almost any number of small birds may be taken with a good sparrowhawk, as many as 327 having been caught in a single season, but they do not give the same sport as the larger birds named.

In the old English writers we find a great deal about the diseases of hawks and their treatment, and many of the prescriptions and modes of treatment are most complicated. Modern practice, however, does not follow the ancient lines in this respect, and medicines are few and sparingly used. In the East, however, the difficulties of a hot climate, and consequent disinclination of hawks to fly, are still overcome by the constant use of drugs. A few words as to the simpler remedies now in vogue and as to daily management are added here.

On each fine morning the hawks should be set out, each on its own block, bareheaded, on turf in some quiet field or garden, and so left for about two hours. A bath should be offered to each one (hawks are great bathers), and if not given this opportunity will often disappoint the falconer by raking off in search of water. Milk-pans make very fair baths, but a better one is made of the end of a large cask sawn off so as to be about seven inches deep. When hawks are bathing constantly, their jesses and leashes must be kept well greased. Good dog-skin is the best leather for these where it can be procured Calf leather or " kip " is good, and the toughest of all is horse-skin, which is good and durable, but must be kept well greased.

After about two hours of " weathering," the hawks may be hooded up, and either left ontheir blocks or removed to the mews until they are taken out to fly. Whatever training or discipline a hawk may be undergoing, a gorge, or full meal, must be given not less often than once a week; and the bigger in condition a hawk can be kept, so long as she be obedient, the better she will fly. " Castings " must be given regularly, if daily it is none the worse. They consist of several mouthfuls of fur or feathers with skin, which it is natural for all hawks to swallow while tearing up their prey. The skin of the head or neck of a pigeon makes a capital casting. In the morning these feathers or fur are ejected in the form of a pellet. By its condition the state of a hawk's health is surely indicated. If the casting is hard, firm, and dry all is well, but if it be soft and slimy, mixed up with mucus and undigested meat, something is wrong. A broken feather is a serious handicap to a hawk, and must be repaired or "imped" immediately, for if once a gap be established in wings or tail, more feathers will become injured.

Imping is usually accomplished by means of a needle,--three-sided as to shape, sharp at both ends, and of a size to match the particular part of the feather that is broken. This feather is neatly cut with a sharp knife at an angle, and another feather, moulted by some hawk, or saved from a dead specimen, is cut at a corresponding angle and to the precise length that will supply the broken piece. The needle, dipped in a little brine or vinegar, is pushed half into the feather actually growing in the hawk's body and half into the new piece. When pushed close up the joint is hardly perceptible and the needle, rusting, will hold all firmly in place.

Sometimes the feather is broken actually in the quill, where no needle is available. In this case a whole feather from a dead bird is taken and the quill thereof cut into the shape of a pen, minus the nib. This pen-shaped quill is pushed carefully into the corresponding quill growing on the hawk, and secured by passing a waxed thread through both quills, lapping it around the joint and making fast. If care is taken to make the feather set at the right angle, this joint is almost impossible to detect.

Hawks, like other animals, suffer from cold, and the form of the complaint takes that of a disease known as "croaks" or "keeks," from the incessant noise made by the hawk when exerting itself in any manner, as by bating or flying. It is the same as a bad cough in beasts, and is cured in the same manner, viz., by high feeding-and that on hot food, by keeping it warm, and avoiding risk of colds. Plenty of casting should be given.

Frounce is a canker or disease of the hawk's mouth and throat, difficult to cure, and in bad cases often fatal. The remedy is to dress the throat with burnt alum and vinegar, scraping off the canker as it forms with a quill or penknife before dressing.

Hawks often suffer from inflammation of the crop. The symptoms are green offensive mutes, and in bad cases a throwing up of the contents of the crop. The remedy is to give two or three doses of powdered Turkey rhubarb, about 4 grains to a dose. Iight food should be given, warm and fresh killed, and in small quantities, frequently.

These simple remedies will meet the case in most diseases, but where the hawks are carefully managed, according to the rules given above, diseases will rarely have to be dealt with.

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