I received a comment on my First Trapped post from an individual who was absolutely horrified by the idea and the means of trapping. I deleted it because it has already been proven here that there are many who would comment without civility and I didn’t want this person to get flamed. I thought the reaction was fair, but that in fairness there should also be more information shared. My response:
Yes, falconers trap birds. I sometimes wish we would all trap birds instead of
breeding them. The birds we trap survive when so many in the wild do not. We
are only allowed to trap first year hawks and falcons, of which more than 70
percent don’t survive their first year…that is, unless they happen to be
trapped and trained by a falconer. A falconer will always feed them whether
they are successful or not and will medicate them if they have one of the
many diseases, such as aspergillosis, that are common to young struggling
That season, likely October through February or March the bird is flown
without hindrance and chooses to come back or not to come back. A good
falconer, who treats his charge with care, kindness and clear communication
will have the bird return. The opportunity to make mistakes without the
repercussions being devastating is one that nature rarely affords, but a
falconer buffers. Missed quarry and run-ins’ with larger predators are
usually mitigated by the falconer. It’s a safer learning curve.
Although, this bond is very tenuous. The bird will revert to wild behavior
within a matter of days if left out. The falconer knows this and will likely
release the bird at the beginning of the migration, returning to the release
site to feed it until it is gone. This is generally only a few days. [Editor: unless it’s a Merlin, of course.] By then, the bird has made it through the worst of its first year (winter when food is scarce) with the falconer’s help, is well fed for the migration and
has a much better chance of surviving the coming year in the wild.
And as I stated in the blog post, no birds were harmed in my trapping story.
Thousands of pigeons are killed on a daily basis in farms and cities. Mine
are well fed, medicated, named and adored. They also have far less stress
than any city bird who daily evades predators will ever have.
All of this said I haven’t trapped a bird since 1997. My falcons are captive
bred and would be illegal to intentionally release. It’s a shame they’re not
trapped though. I would much rather be a blip in a falcon’s long life, an
opportunity to bolster their survival and to better understand an amazing
creature and the world it inhabits, and then know that it is out there
somewhere wild and free.
I am sorry you feel this is all so offensive. You are absolutely entitled to
your opinion. I did, though, want to give you a bit more information. It may
not change your mind at all, but I would rather share it than dismiss you