Training Birds of Prey without Equipment
This badge is for completion of the course Training Birds of Prey without Equipment. 16 years ago Thomas Andersen decided to explore the concept of training birds of prey without traditional falconry equipment such as leashes and jesses. At the time, this concept was relatively untested in the bird show training community and there was a degree of skepticism surrounding it. He proved the skeptics wrong when he demonstrated that it could be done, and he wrote a paper on the subject called “Why are we still using equipment on birds of prey?”. He presented the paper at the 2009 ABMA conference, where it was credited with an award and eventually published in Wellspring.
This presentation covers topics ranging from transitioning a bird from equipment-based training to training a brand-new bird without equipment as well as the positive implications this strategy has on the welfare of the birds and the impact it has regarding the message we send to the public. Thomas hopes that this presentation will inspire trainers and institutions to evolve their practices and move towards a concept that relies on positive reinforcement and increases animal welfare.