Newly Released Eyass- Triborough Bridge Park
Roe, a Falconer from Idaho sent in his comments concerning yesterday's post-- Rehabilitated Raptor Release
If you want to be truly successful rehabilitator of birds of prey you need to look to your local group of falconers for standards and advice about keeping raptors healthy.
Generally speaking the standards for housing and keeping of birds of prey for rehabbers is inadequate and lower than the rules falconers adhere to.
If you want to house and rehab BOPs properly then you will need to learn some basic falconry techniques like creance flying to build muscle as well as examples of what a good mews looks like. Some rehabbers will tell you that creance flying is unneeded, but I would say that it is a requirement for any bird that has undergone a serious injury. How well would you be able to survive in the wild after you had a major surgery without having undergone physical therapy? Creance flying is an excellent form of physical therapy for these animals when done correctly.
I don't know anything about the rehabbers in NY, but nationwide rehabbers have a bad reputation among falconers because they tend to do the bare minimum for the animals in their care. This may not be the case in NY, but if you are planning on becoming a rehabber then please work for a positive change of this perception and do more than the average rehabber is willing to do. Also if you do decide to get in touch with falconers in your area try not to get discouraged if at first no one responds to your requests, it's hard for other falconers to get "in" to a new community of falconers so it may be exceptionally hard for a non-falconer to get in.
The best thing would be for you to find a falconer that is also a rehabber to learn from.
I'm a falconer out of Idaho and I'll always be glad to answer any of your questions, or pass them along to more experienced falconers in my area. I myself am new to falconry, but if there is any doubt about the wealth of knowledge that falconers hold on BOPs just remember that Falconers are the only reason we have Peregrine Falcons in this country.
Anyway sorry for the rant, glad to see that someone else cares about these animals as much as I do.
A Response from wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath, whose release of raptors was featured in the post--
I am also a licensed falconer but don't have time to practice the sport right now with everything going on.
We regularly do creance fly potential releases for conditioning purposes as the largest cage we have available is 80' long which is great but flying on a 150' creance line a few trips till the bird is winded is even better.
There are dangers to creance flying though and it must be done very carefully in open areas when we can time it around no soccer or little league games being played.
Accidental injuries can occur as well if the bird doesn't land well, so it is done with caution .