Saturday, October 17, 2009

Are they pets?

A question I often get from people about my birds is whether or not they are a pet. Now, that is actually a more complicated question than it sounds. Yes, and no.

While the birds do live at my house, and I do care for them like I would a pet, most hawks will never reciprocate any love or appreciation. They are there for the food, pure and simple. Most raptors will stay with you as long as they see the benefit to themselves; you are feeding them, or flushing prey. Once they are fat and happy, they may fly for the horizen.

Harris hawks are a bit different though.

Harris hawks actually hunt in packs and can form social bonds similar to the way that wolves work. They are considered "social animals". So, harris hawks don't fit the traditional mold.

An article from "falconry Today" explains it further.

Emily Fisher has a past-time more specialized that most.

She is into falconry, hand raising wild birds of prey, with a close relationship typical of a domestic pet, but with none of the cuddling.

“A raptor is not a cuddly pet, or a cool exotic thing to carry around. Without proper stimulation and activity they can be dangerous,” she says. “Also keep in mind they are strict carnivores, they eat raw meat, and they are hunters. If you can’t deal with killing prey and that side of it, falconry is not for you.” Her birds typically eat rabbits, ducks, or squirrels.

If you want a bird to be cool, or you think they are pretty, those reason's are not good enough. Raptors are not pets to be kept, they are predators that need to be hunted. If you have considered keeping a bird of you own, but don't want to hunt, stay away from falconry birds. Maybe a parrot would be better.

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