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The Modern Apprentice



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Raptor training link       Raptor training basics link Raptor training games link Planning your bird's first hunt link
The way I think of training is as a series of games. Games can be small or large and the rules can change as I dictate them. The goal is sometimes the game itself, but other times is more than the training session. If I am dealing with a bit of aggression, I will play games which direct the attention away from me. The Basics page already explored the details of the Jump-Up game, and there are others that we play, but the games that can be played are only limited by your own imagination.
If you are going to exercise your bird in the house, examine the environment from her perspective to ensure it is safe. Close the blinds to prevent her from flying into a window, stop all ceiling fans, and put away all small animals, including cats. I personally avoid cooking, especially the use of Teflon® when exercising my bird. Initially keep the bird on a creance line until you know how she will react indoors and you can better predict what factors in her environment are a danger to her.
Note: If video clips do not launch automatically on your machine, right-click the link and select Save Link As... to save the video clip locally. The clip can be saved to your desktop, double-clicked, and played from there.

Jump Ups
Jump-ups are where the bird starts on the perch and jumps up to the falconer's fist, which is held high above the head. The jump up can be made more physically taxing by attaching a heavy leash to the bird or by climbing up on a ladder forcing the bird to jump higher.
       Video of Jump-Ups (Note: the jump-ups for exercising are done with the fist held high overhead - that did not fit into the frame of vision; the fist is held lower for example purposes only) - 518 Kb

Remote Control Jump Ups
Remote Control Jump-ups are where the bird starts on a perch and jumps up to another perch. The two perches should be at two different levels (one low and one high) in order to get the maximum exercise. The game can be shifted to flying between two perches, and although interesting to train, it is less exercise to the bird.
       Video of Remote Control Jump-Ups - 1.1 megs

Corkscrews are jump-ups where the bird starts on the perch facing away from the falconer. As the bird jumps she has to turn around as well making them more difficult. It's not so much a different game as an exercise in shaping the jump-ups into a slightly different movement.

Look Away
With the bird on the fist wait for her to look off to the left and then whistle. After several looks off to the left, toss a tidbit. This game focuses her attention away from you and is useful in deflecting aggression.

Look Around
With the bird on the fist wait for her to look towards whichever object you want her to look at - a lamp shade, a tree, a dog. When her gaze falls near the object, give your CR. You are leading her gaze towards looking at and looking longer at an item. Eventually you can lead a bird to move to that object with enough work.
       Patty being trained to look up and to the right - 203 Kb
The video is just a short clip of training a bird to look up and to the right.

Tidbit Hunts
With the bird on the fist or on a perch have the bird watch the ground around her as if she was watching the ground while out hunting in the field. When she has watched intently enough, toss out a tidbit essentially flushing game for her. When the tidbit is flushed, make your quarry call so that she begins to associate the call with game present to be hunted.

Move Up
With the bird on a perch this game involves cueing her to find a taller perch and move to it. It can be a useful command to know in the field.

Restrained Pursuits
Steve Layman is famous for his Yo-Yo's and restrained pursuits as both games and an exercise. A restrained pursuit is where the bird has cast off the fist after something, but is restrained in her pursuit by the falconer holding the leash. The falconer could toss out a tidbit that the hawk is now chasing after. The falconer then judges how hard the hawk is chasing it and controls whether the hawk successfully catches the tidbit or not.
The Restrained Pursuit is the precursor to the Yo-Yo - the Yo-Yo is just a Restrained Pursuit that stops mid way with the bird returning to the fist.
       Patty performing a Restrained Pursuit - 323 Kb
The video is an illustration of starting the Restrained Pursuit game. Tossing a tidbit gives motive for the bird to bate off the fist and pump her wings towards the meat. Later she will not need a tidbit to be tossed to understand that she is being asked to make the leap. The moulting bird in this video is actually more than 200g above her fit hunting weight, and out of shape, yet she is still interested in expending effort and playing the game.

The bird starts a yo-yo on the fist. She dives off, flies to the end of the leash where the falconer sounds the conditioned reinforcer (and gives out more leash), then returns to the fist.
The yo-yo is a precursor to the circle - the circle is just a larger yo-yo that is not constrained by the length of the leash. The circles performed without a leash illustrate that the leash is not applying much force on the bird's legs, but rather the bird turns when the whistle is sounded.
       Patty performing a yo-yo - 318 Kb

The bird is cast off of the falconer's fist and flies in a circle away from the falconer. When the circle is large enough, the falconer whistles rewarding the flight away from him and the bird returns to the fist.
       Patty doing circles in the house - 331 Kb
       Patty doing her circles outside - 2 megs

Remote Circles
The bird is cued to cast off of a perch and flies in a circle away from the falconer. When the circle is large enough, the falconer whistles rewarding the flight away and the bird returns to the perch (or fist).
       Patty doing remote circle in the house - 750 Kb

With clear cues from the trainer, the bird can be requested to respond with a variety of behaviors. This can be useful in exercising to randomize between level flights (circles), vertical flights (jump-ups), and pursuits (yo-yos). I believe this gives a better overall musculature and conditioning to the bird than repeating one single exercise - and it provides an element of randomness and interest for bird and handler.
       Patty demonstrating jump ups and circles interchanged - 2.8 meg

Complex Actions
Some behaviors are more complex to train and to have a raptor do. In this video, this (very fat, moulting bird) has been asked to grab a stick, carry it to the rubber container, and leave it there. She still has a superstition about carrying it first to her perch, but this is the first day she was asked to involve the container, and only the third time she actually did involve it. The actions can easily be smoothed out now that she has them understood.
       Patty demonstrating complex action - 1.2 meg

All images and text Copyright © 2004 - 2020 - Lydia Ash