Falconer Gives Vet Tech Students a Bird’s-Eye View

Published on April 6, 2015 by arothstein

Veterinary technology students in the lab animals, exotics, and pocket pets class at Broadview University-Boise recently received a bird’s eye view from falconer Katie Wilde.

“There are state and federal regulations for owing falcons,” said Katie. “It’s illegal to have falcons without permits, and outdoor enclosures are required to house them.”

Falconer Katie Wilde shows Amanda Hopkins how to hold a falcon

Falconer Katie Wilde shows Amanda Hopkins how to hold a falcon

Katie demonstrated how to handle falcons to students and gave them the opportunity to try holding the birds themselves.

She also gave the veterinary technology students advice on how to handle a falconer’s bird at a clinic.

“Birds do not show that they are ill until the very end. At that point, they are fragile so don’t touch them if possible,” she recommended. “And, most birds might be shy or stressed.”

Katie discussed how birds could be infected with bumble foot.

“The pad of the foot is itsy bitsy, and the bird’s pointy toes can hurt the pads and make it prone to infection,” she said.

Veterinary technology student Sara Muntzel asked if antibiotics could be used to treat bumble foot. “Yes,” Katie replied, “but it must be caught early.”

Katie explained to the students why the falcons wore hoods. “The hood stimulates darkness and makes birds more still and calm,” she said. “They are perfectly fitted for each bird.”

Katie mentioned that she used a reward system to train her birds.

“How often do you fly the birds?” asked Heather Williams, a veterinary technology instructor.

“The flying season is six months,” said Katie. “Some falconers train birds for a season and then let them go.”

Katie described what happened she flew her birds. “I fly mine five days a week; I release them and they circle a little ways away.”

“Why do the birds come back to you?” asked Dr. Tami Hinderager, a resident veterinarian.

“They come back because they trust me,” replied Katie.

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