Falconry jesses

Falconry Jesses: A Comprehensive Guide

Falconry jesses are leather straps used to tether a falcon to a perch or a handler’s arm. Falconry jesses are essential tools for falconers, as they provide secure and safe control over the bird during training and hunting sessions.

They are typically made from soft and durable leather and are designed to be comfortable for the bird while providing a firm grip for the handler. The use of falconry jesses dates back centuries and has been a crucial part of falconry traditions worldwide.

We will explore the purpose, design, and importance of falconry jesses in the art of falconry.

Definition And Purpose Of Falconry Jesses

Developed centuries ago, falconry jesses are designed with a specific purpose in mind. They consist of strong, supple leather straps that encircle the bird’s ankles, typically made from high-quality materials such as kangaroo or cowhide leather. The jesses are carefully attached to the bird’s legs using knots, ensuring a secure and reliable connection.

The primary purpose of jesses in falconry is to provide a means of control over the falcon, allowing the falconer to guide and direct the bird during training sessions and while out in the field. The jesses serve as a connection point for the falconer’s equipment, such as the leash or leash swivel, which allows for easy transportation.

Importance Of Jesses In Falconry Training

Jesses play a crucial role in falconry training, as they are instrumental in establishing a bond of trust between the falconer and the bird. Through gentle and consistent handling, the falcon becomes accustomed to the presence of the jesses and understands that when they are attached, it is time to focus on the training session.

During training exercises, the falconer can use the jesses to guide the bird’s movements and reinforce desired behaviors. The jesses provide the falconer with a firm grip and control over the bird, allowing for precise communication and direction. In this way, the jesses facilitate the training process, enabling the falconer to shape the falcon’s behavior and encourage positive learning.

Furthermore, jesses contribute to the safety of the bird and the falconer. The attachment of the jesses ensures that the falcon remains close to the falconer, preventing the risk of escape during training or unpredictable situations in the field. The added control offered by the jesses allows the falconer to swiftly intervene if necessary, protecting both the falcon and other wildlife.

Different Types Of Falconry Jesses

Falconry jesses are a crucial tool in the training and handling of birds of prey. They are specialized straps, typically made of leather or nylon, that are used to secure the bird’s legs. Depending on the material and design, different types of jesses offer various benefits and functionalities. In this article, we will explore three common types of falconry jesses: leather jesses, nylon jesses, and traditional jesses compared to modern jesses.

There are two main types of falconry jesses: mews jesses and flying jesses.

  • Mews jesses are thicker and wider than flying jesses, and they are used to secure the bird when it is in the mews or falconry shed. Mews jesses are typically made of leather, and they may have bells or other decorations attached to them.
  • Flying jesses are lighter and narrower than mews jesses, and they are used when the bird is flying. Flying jesses are typically made of leather or synthetic materials, and they are designed to be as lightweight and aerodynamic as possible.

In addition to mews and flying jesses, there are a number of other specialized types of falconry jesses available, such as:

  • Bullet jesses, characterized by a single piece of leather rolled and fastened with a metal rivet, represent the epitome of strength and durability in falconry equipment. Often utilized for hunting birds, these jesses are engineered to withstand the force generated during the bird’s strikes. While their robust nature makes them slightly more expensive, their ability to withstand the rigors of hunting ensures the safety of both the bird and the falconer during intense flight activities.
  • Aylmeri jesses (The Traditional Touch), steeped in tradition, involves the use of a single piece of leather folded and stitched to create a secure loop. While relatively more expensive than their branded counterparts, Aylmeri jesses find their niche in the handling of larger birds such as hawks and eagles. The classic appeal and robustness of Aylmeri jesses make them a favored choice for experienced falconers seeking reliable and time-honored equipment for their birds.
  • Braided jesses, crafted from durable and intricately woven leather or synthetic cord, represent a popular and versatile choice among falconers. With their strength, durability, and availability in various colors and patterns, braided jesses not only ensure the safety of the bird but also offer a customizable and visually appealing option for falconry enthusiasts.

Traditional Jesses Vs. Modern Jesses

Traditional JessesModern Jesses
  • Usually made from leatherProvide a classic and traditional lookDurable and weather-resistantRequire regular moisturizing and maintenance
  • Can be made from leather or synthetic materialsOffer advanced features and functionalitiesLightweight and comfortable for the birdEasy to clean and maintain

While traditional jesses evoke a sense of nostalgia and carry the aesthetic appeal of falconry’s rich history, modern jesses ensure enhanced performance and convenience. Whether you prefer the time-honored craftsmanship of leather or the innovation of synthetic materials, choosing the right type of jesses depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the well-being of your bird.

Choosing The Right Falconry Jesses For Your Prey

When it comes to falconry, selecting the right jesses for your bird is essential. Jesses are leather straps that are used to secure the bird’s legs and allow the falconer to handle and control the bird. With so many options available, it’s important to consider various factors to ensure you choose the jesses that are best suited for your bird’s needs. In this article, we will explore the factors to consider when selecting jesses, the importance of sizing and fitting them properly, as well as understanding your bird’s species and behavior.

Factors To Consider When Selecting Jesses

Choosing the right jesses for your bird involves considering several important factors. These factors will help ensure you make a well-informed decision that meets the specific needs of your bird. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Material: The material used for the jesses plays a crucial role in their durability and comfort. Genuine leather is a popular choice due to its strength and ability to conform to the bird’s leg, preventing discomfort or injury.
  2. Strength and Size: The jesses should be strong enough to handle the bird’s weight and size. Select jesses that are specifically designed to meet the needs of your bird’s species.
  3. Attachment Method: Different jesses may have different attachment methods, such as swivels, snaps, or slit buckles. Consider which attachment method will best suit your handling preferences and the behavior of your bird.
  4. Personal Preference: Take your own preferences into account. Some falconers may prefer a certain style or design of jesses, as long as they meet the required specifications for the bird.

Sizing And Fitting The Jesses Properly

Proper sizing and fitting of the jesses is crucial for the comfort and safety of your bird. Ill-fitting jesses can cause discomfort or even lead to injury. Follow these guidelines to ensure proper sizing and fitting:

  • Measure: Measure the circumference of your bird’s leg to determine the appropriate size for the jesses. Avoid making them too tight or too loose.
  • Allow Room for Growth: Consider the growth of your bird when choosing jesses. Leave a little room for growth to ensure they won’t become too tight as your bird grows.
  • Check for Comfort: Once the jesses are fastened, make sure they are secure but not overly tight. Your bird should be able to move their legs comfortably without any signs of distress or restriction.
  • Regular Inspection: Regularly check the jesses for any signs of wear and tear. Replace them if they become damaged or show signs of weakness.

Falconry Told

Understanding The Bird’s Species And Behavior

Each bird species has its own unique behavior and needs. Understanding your particular bird’s species and behavior will help ensure you choose the most suitable jesses. Consider the following:

  • Foot Size and Shape: Different bird species have varying foot sizes and shapes. Select jesses that match the specific foot requirements to provide a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Behavioral Traits: Some birds may have specific behavioral traits that require specialized jess designs. Research your bird’s species to understand any particular requirements.
  • Training Level: Consider your bird’s level of training and experience. Jesses for a bird in training may differ from those used for a fully trained bird.

By taking into account factors such as material, strength, attachment method, and your bird’s specific needs, you can confidently choose the right jesses for your bird. Remember to accurately size and fit the jesses to maximize comfort and safety. Understanding your bird’s species and behavior is essential in ensuring they have the best possible jesses for their needs.

Training Techniques Using Falconry Jesses

Falconry jesses are an integral part of the training process for birds of prey. These leather straps are used to tether the bird to the falconer’s glove or a perch, providing control and ensuring the safety of both the bird and the handler. By using jesses, falconers can gradually introduce their birds to new environments and behaviors, helping them develop the necessary skills for successful hunting and participation in falconry demonstrations. In this blog post, we will explore the various training techniques involved in using Falconry Jesses, including the introduction to Jesses during training, teaching the bird to accept and respond to Jesses, and the step-by-step process of Jesses training.

Jesses During Training

During the initial stages of falconry training, it is crucial to introduce the bird to the concept of jesses and ensure they are comfortable wearing them. The first step is to select the appropriate size of jesses that fit the bird’s legs securely. Using soft leather jesses, which are comfortable and less likely to irritate the bird, is recommended.

Start by gently attaching the jesses to the bird’s legs using a secure and adjustable knot. It is important to adjust the jesses so they are snug but not too tight, allowing for freedom of movement without risking the bird’s safety. Initially, do not attach a leash or swivel to the jesses.

Teaching The Bird To Accept And Respond To Jesses

Once the bird is comfortable wearing the jesses, the next step is to teach them to accept and respond to the presence of the jesses. This is achieved through a process called positive reinforcement. Here’s how it can be done:

  1. Positive Association: Pair the presence of the jesses with positive experiences for the bird, such as their favorite food or a rewarding interaction with the falconer. This helps the bird develop a positive association with the jesses and their presence.
  2. Gradual Introduction to Handling: Start by gently handling the jesses while the bird is tethered, rewarding calm behavior and providing verbal praise. Gradually increase the duration of handling sessions, ensuring the bird remains comfortable and responsive throughout.
  3. Introducing Leash: Once the bird is accepting of the jesses, gradually introduce a light leash attached to the jesses, allowing for brief periods of controlled movement. Reward the bird for compliance and encourage positive behavior.

Remember to be patient and consistent with the training process. Each bird is unique, and it may take time for them to fully accept and respond to the jesses.

Step-by-step Process Of Jesses Training

Training a bird to respond to jesses requires a systematic approach to ensure both their safety and the effectiveness of the training. Here’s a step-by-step process to follow:

  1. Secure Tethering: Attach the jesses securely to the bird’s legs, making sure they are snug but not too tight. Use an adjustable knot to maintain control and flexibility.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Associate the presence of the jesses with positive experiences for the bird, gradually introducing handling and rewards to encourage acceptance and compliance.
  3. Leash Training: Introduce a light leash attached to the jesses, gradually increasing the bird’s freedom of movement while maintaining control. Reinforce positive behavior during leash training sessions.
  4. Field Training: Once the bird is comfortable with the jesses and leash, gradually introduce them to controlled outdoor environments. Reinforce recall and response to commands while maintaining a safe and controlled experience.
  5. Hunting Integration: As the bird progresses, gradually incorporate hunting scenarios into the training process, ensuring the bird remains attentive and responsive while wearing the jesses.

By following this step-by-step process, falconers can effectively train their birds to respond to jesses and become skilled partners in the age-old art of falconry.

Maintaining And Caring For Falconry Jesses

Maintaining and caring for falconry jesses is crucial for the well-being and safety of these birds. Regular inspections, proper cleaning, and ensuring a comfortable fit are all essential steps in keeping the jesses in optimal condition for effective falconry.

Falconry jesses are fundamental tools that play a crucial role in the training and care of falcons. Just like any other equipment, it’s important to properly maintain and care for jesses to ensure they remain effective and safe for both the falcon and the falconer. In this section, we will discuss three essential aspects of maintaining and caring for falconry jesses: cleaning and sanitizing, regular inspections and replacements, and proper storage.

Cleaning And Sanitizing Jesses

Cleaning and sanitizing jesses is an important step in preserving their longevity and ensuring the health and safety of the falcon. Jesses can become contaminated with dirt, debris, and potentially harmful bacteria during falconry outings. To clean and sanitize jesses effectively, follow these simple steps:

  1. Gently remove any visible dirt or debris from the surface of the jesses using a soft-bristled brush or cloth.
  2. Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing mild dish soap with warm water.
  3. Submerge the jesses in the cleaning solution and use a soft brush to gently scrub away any remaining dirt or residue.
  4. Rinse the jesses thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Allow the jesses to air dry completely before storing them or using them again.

Regular Inspections And Replacements

Regular inspections of jesses are essential to identify any signs of wear and tear that could compromise their effectiveness or pose a risk to the falcon. It’s recommended to inspect jesses before each falconry session and replace them as needed. During the inspection, pay close attention to the following:

  • Check for signs of fraying or weakening in the straps.
  • Inspect the hardware (such as buckles and grommets) for any signs of rust or damage.
  • Ensure the jesses fit snugly and securely around the falcon’s legs without causing discomfort or restriction.
  • Look for any loose stitching or excessive stretching.

Proper Storage Of Jesses

Proper storage of jesses is essential to prevent damage and preserve their quality over time. When not in use, follow these guidelines for storing jesses:

  1. Clean and sanitize the jesses before storing them to remove any dirt or residue.
  2. Avoid exposing jesses to excessive heat, moisture, or direct sunlight, as these can degrade the materials.
  3. Consider using a dedicated storage container or pouch to keep the jesses organized and protected from dust or potential damage.
  4. Store the jesses in a cool, dry place away from any chemicals or sharp objects that could cause damage.
  5. Regularly check stored jesses for any signs of pests or mold, and take necessary action if needed.

By following these simple steps for cleaning, inspecting, and storing falconry jesses, you can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of these essential tools. Your falcon will appreciate the added comfort and safety, and you will have peace of mind knowing that you are providing the best care for your feathered companion.

Falconry Jesses: Mastering the Art of Training Raptors

Credit: www.streetroots.org

Where to Buy Quality Falconry Jesses

When seeking to purchase falconry jesses, it is advisable to explore reputable retailers both online and in physical stores. Opting for jesses from trusted sources ensures that the equipment is constructed using high-quality materials and adheres to the necessary standards for bird safety and comfort. Thoroughly reviewing product descriptions and consulting reviews from seasoned falconers can further aid in making an informed and prudent purchase decision.

Additional Tips for Using Falconry Jesses

Storing falconry jesses in a cool and dry environment when not in use helps to preserve their integrity and functionality. Shielding the jesses from direct sunlight is crucial in preventing the leather from drying out and becoming brittle. In instances where the jesses become damp, allowing them to fully dry before reuse is pivotal in maintaining their structural integrity. Regular inspections for signs of wear and tear are essential, and any damaged jesses should be promptly replaced to prevent potential accidents or injuries during falconry activities.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Falconry Jesses

What is the ideal material for falconry jesses?

While both leather and synthetic materials are used for making jesses, soft and durable leather is often preferred for its comfort and resilience during prolonged flights.

How frequently should falconry jesses be inspected?

Regular inspections, ideally before each flying session, are crucial to detect any signs of wear and tear that might compromise the safety of the bird.

Can falconry jesses be customized for different bird sizes?

Yes, various sizes of jesses are available to accommodate different bird species, ensuring a snug and secure fit for each bird.

What is the significance of using a jess mandrel?

A jess mandrel helps in accurately measuring the bird’s leg circumference, ensuring the selection of appropriately sized jesses for a comfortable and secure fit.

What Are Jesses In Falconry?

Jesses in falconry are leather straps used to tether a bird of prey to a perch or glove. They are attached to the bird’s legs, providing control and preventing escape during training.

What Are Falconry Jesses Made Of?

Falconry jesses are typically made of a strong and durable material like leather or nylon. These jesses are used to attach bells and other equipment to a falcon’s legs for identification and control during falconry activities.

Why Do Falconers Cover The Birds Eyes?

Falconers cover birds’ eyes to keep them calm during transportation and training. It helps reduce stress and prevents them from becoming overly excited or distracted.

Do Falconers Make Money?

Yes, falconers can make money through various means, such as offering falconry services, selling trained falcons, conducting educational programs, or participating in falconry events. They can earn a decent income based on their expertise and the demand for falconry in their area.


In the realm of falconry, the significance of well-chosen and properly fitted jesses cannot be overstated. Whether it’s the flexibility of braided jesses, the tradition of Aylmeri jesses, or the strength of bullet jesses, each type serves a unique purpose in ensuring the safety and comfort of the birds during their flights. By adhering to proper maintenance practices and periodic inspections, falconers can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of their falconry jesses, thereby fostering a secure and fulfilling experience for both the birds and the falconers alike.

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