Part 173: Falconry
(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 3-0301, 11-1007)
- 173.1 Definitions
- 173.2 Falconry license
- 173.3 Acquisition of raptors
- 173.4 Possession of raptors
- 173.5 Hunting with raptors
- 173.6 Care of raptors
- 173.7 Disposition of raptors
- 173.8 Marking of raptors
- 173.9 Exception
As used in this Part, the following terms shall mean:
(a) "Capture" means the act of taking or attempting to take a raptor alive from the wild.
(b) "Department" means the Department of Environmental Conservation.
(c) "Environmental Conservation Law" means Chapter 43-B of the Consolidated laws of New York.
(d) "Falconer" means a person who possesses a valid apprentice, general or master falconry license.
(e) "Falconry" means the sport of hunting by the use of trained raptors, and includes the training, feeding, and handling of such birds and their recapture after being released for hunting or training. Falconry does not include the propagation of raptors.
(f) "First year passage bird" means a raptor less than one year old which is neither a nestling nor in adult plumage.
(g) "Nestling" means a young raptor which is still in the nest and is not yet capable of flying.
(h) "Raptors" means all species and hybrids of the orders Strigiformes and Falconiformes except the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)and bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and all birds listed as endangered or threatened pursuant to section 11-0535 of the Environmental Conservation Law. However, "raptors" includes peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) which are the progeny of birds lawfully acquired prior to 1978 and which are marked by a permanent, non-reusable, numbered band and issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
(i) "Sponsor" means a person who possesses a valid general or master falconry license and who agrees with the department, in writing, to be responsible for individually instructing and training an apprentice falconer under his/her direct supervision in the fundamentals of falconry. A sponsor must work directly with his or her apprentice to determine if the apprentice is eligible to advance to the general license or if the apprentice license should be terminated by the department upon expiration. A sponsor must provide written recommendations concerning his or her apprentice to the department upon request.
§173.2 Falconry license
(a) A New York state resident must possess a valid apprentice, general or master falconry license issued pursuant to this part, to obtain, buy, sell, barter, possess and train raptors for falconry or to engage in falconry.
(b) A nonresident of New York State may engage in falconry in New York State without a New York State falconry license provided he or she meets all the following requirements:
(1) possesses a valid New York nonresident license authorizing the hunting of small game;
(2) possesses written proof that he or she is legally authorized to engage in falconry in the state where he or she resides;
(3) possesses written proof that he or she legally possesses the raptor(s) to be used for falconry in New York.
(c) Application for, or renewal of, a falconry license must be made on forms provided by the department. All falconry licenses shall expire on December 31 every second year following issuance. Applications for renewal must be submitted to the department postmarked no later than December 1 prior to the expiration of the falconry license. The fee for a falconry license is twenty dollars.
(d) A person must meet all of the following requirements to be issued a falconry license:
(1) receive a score of eighty percent or higher on a written examination administered by the department to test the applicant's knowledge of falconry and related matters; and
(2) possess equipment and facilities for housing raptors that meet or exceed the standards for care of raptors listed in section 173.7 of this Part; and
(3) possess a valid New York state hunting license authorizing the hunting of small game.
(e) The department issues three types of falconry licenses:
(1) Apprentice falconry license. Apprentice falconers must:
(i) be at least 14 years old; and
(ii) have a sponsor who is a licensed general or master falconer in New York; and
(iii) be under the direct supervision of his or her sponsor on at least the first two occasions when the apprentice hunts with a raptor; and (iv) comply with requests by his or her sponsor to ensure adequate training and to provide for the care of the raptors.
(2) Apprentice falconers may not:
(i) possess more than one raptor and may not obtain more than one raptor for replacement during any calendar year; or
(ii) capture nestling raptors.
(3) Apprentice falconers may:
(i) only possess a kestrel (Falcon sparverius) or a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) taken from the wild; and
(ii) capture raptors listed in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph only under the direct supervision of their sponsor.
(4) General falconry license. General falconers must:
(i) be at least 18 years old; and
(ii) have at least two years experience in the practice of falconry as a licensed apprentice falconer or the equivalent; and (iii) have possessed a raptor for at least 12 months of the time specified in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph; and
(iv) provide written recommendation for advancement to the general license by his or her sponsor and at least one other New York State general or master falconer who has evaluated the apprentice in the field to ascertain the candidate's level of proficiency in the sport of falconry and the skill and ability in the care of raptors commensurate with the activities and responsibilities of a general falconer.
(5) General falconers may not:
(i) possess more than two raptors and may not obtain more than two replacement raptors during any calendar year; or
(ii) sponsor more than three apprentice falconers at any one time.
(6) Master falconry license. Master falconers must:
(i) have at least five years of experience in the practice of falconry as a licensed general falconer or the equivalent; and
(ii) have possessed a raptor for at least 36 months of the time specified in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph; and
(iii) provide written recommendations for advancement to the master license from three master falconers who have evaluated the general falconer in the field to ascertain the candidate's level of proficiency in the sport of falconry and the skill and ability in the care of raptors commensurate with the activities and responsibilities of a master falconer; and
(iv) be approved, in writing, for advancement to the master license by the Falconry Advisory Board.
(7) Master falconers may not:
(i) possess more than three raptors at any one time during the calendar year; or
(ii) take more than two raptors from the wild as replacements during a calendar year; or
(iii) sponsor more than three apprentice falconers at any one time.
(8) Master falconers may obtain any number of captive bred raptors as replacements during the calendar year.
(f) The department may add conditions to any falconry license to effect the purposes of Title 10 of Article 11 of the Environmental Conservation Law.
(g) The department may seize and place raptors held pursuant to a falconry license if the falconer:
(1) fails to provide proper care for the raptors in his or her possession; or
(2) allows raptors in his or her possession to become a public nuisance; or
(3) no longer possesses a valid falconry license; or
(4) fails to comply with the terms or conditions of the falconry license; or (5) fails to comply with the license renewal procedures provided in subdivision (c) of this section.
(h) The department may deny or refuse to renew a falconry license to any individual who within the three years prior to application for a falconry license or renewal of a falconry license has been convicted of or settled by civil compromise any violation of any provision of the Environmental Conservation Law or regulation of the department.
(i) All falconers must submit an annual falconry report to the department by December 31 of each year, on forms provided by the department. This report must state, for the preceding January 1 to December 31 period, the band number(s) of the species (if applicable), species, sex, age and the dates of acquisition, where or from whom these raptors were acquired, and any other information requested on the forms.
§173.3 Acquisition of raptors
(a) Raptors which have been captured from the wild may not be bought, sold, Bartered or offered for sale or barter under a falconry license.
(b) Captive bred progeny of lawfully acquired raptors may be bought, sold, bartered, and offered for sale or barter under a falconry license.
(c) A falconer may not capture wild peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) for falconry. A falconer must provide written documentation acceptable to the department that any peregrine falcon to be possessed under his or her falconry license is a progeny of peregrine falcons that were legally acquired prior to 1978.
(d) A falconer may obtain a raptor from a person outside New York State by any method which is legal where that person resides.
(e) A falconer must obtain an authorization form from the department for each raptor prior to acquisition of the raptor and copies of this completed authorization form must be maintained by the falconer while the raptor is in his or her possession. A falconer must comply with all instructions contained in the authorization form.
(f) Raptors may not be captured from the wild by any method that is injurious to the bird.
(g) A falconer who captures a raptor in adult plumage must immediately release that raptor at the site of capture.
(h) A falconer may capture only one nestling raptor from any one nest. A nestling may not be captured from its nest unless there is at least one other nestling remaining in the nest.
(i) A falconer who captures a nestling raptor must, at the time of capture, install metal flashing at the base of the tree in which the nest is located. Such flashing must be at least two feet wide, must be wrapped completely around the tree, must be at least four feet from the ground, and must be painted to match the color of the tree trunk. The flashing must be removed after the remaining nestlings have left the nest.
(j) Nestling raptors may only be captured on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 1 through July 15 inclusive.
(k) First year passage birds may be captured from September 1 through January 25 only.
(l) A falconer must have his or her valid falconry license and authorization form on their person when capturing raptors.
(m) A falconer must obtain permission from a landowner before he or she captures a raptor on private land. Written permission must be obtained from the administering agency before capturing a raptor on public land.
(n) The department may authorize the donation of a raptor to a falconer.
(o) A falconer may possess a distressed raptor for rehabilitation only if he or she is licensed to rehabilitate wildlife pursuant to Section 11-0515 of the Environmental Conservation Law.
§173.4 Possession of raptors
(a) The department may prohibit the possession of certain raptors for falconry when such possession would present a threat to the species or to the sport of falconry.
§173.5 Hunting with raptors
(a) Any person who hunts with a raptor must possess a valid falconry license and a valid license authorizing the hunting of small game. These licenses must be carried by the falconer when hunting.
(b) A falconer hunting with a raptor must comply with all the provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law and regulations governing the hunting of small game.
(1) A falconer whose raptor kills wildlife that is out of season or of the wrong species or sex shall leave the dead wildlife where it lies, except that the raptor may feed upon the wildlife prior to leaving the site of the kill.
(c) A falconer may hunt domestic gamebirds with raptors on a shooting preserve licensed pursuant to Section 11-1903 of the Environmental Conservation law.
(d) A falconer hunting with raptors on a shooting preserve must comply with all applicable provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law relating to the hunting of small game and the hunting of domestic game birds pursuant to Section 11-1903 of the Environmental Conservation Law.
§173.6 Care of raptors
(a) Each falconer must provide care for raptors in his or her possession. Such care must include at a minimum all of the following.
(1) Indoor facilities (mews) will include:
(i) inside dimensions not less than eight (8) feet in each direction. In no case shall small wire bird cages sold in pet stores for smaller birds be used to house raptors; (ii) interior surfaces containing no beams, ledges, or other protrusions on which the raptors might injure themselves, unless raptors are to be maintained untethered;
(iii) at least one window, with vertical bars or rods on the inside, spaced narrower than the width of the bird's body, on the south or east portion of the mews, of sufficient size to pass sunlight and ventilation sufficient to maintain the raptors in good health. The outside of the windows should be covered with a screen or 1/4" or 1/2" hardware cloth (wire) to prevent entrace of rats or weasels;
(iv) at least one door to permit easy access and cleaning of facilities. If such door opens directly to the out-of-doors, it shall have a shield or another door on the inside to prevent escape of the raptor, and shall be key-locked and have a spring or hook on the inside to keep it closed;
(v) floor surface which shall permit easy cleaning and shall be well drained; and
(vi) a perch, of such size, strength, and construction as to permit the raptors to grip and hold it with their talons safely and in a manner in keeping with the birds' perching habits in the wild.
(2) Outdoor facilities will include:
(i) sufficient space to allow tethered raptors to bate (attempt flight) without striking wings on the sides or top of the facility; and
(ii) sides and top of facility enclosed with material suitable to exclude predators. (3) Environmental protection will include:
(i) maintenance of facility temperature within healthful range;
(ii) shielding from high wind and winter storms;
(iii) protection from avian and ground predators; and
(iv) prevention of disturbances which would likely cause injury.
(4) Equipment will include:
(i) a pair of Aylmeri (style) jesses (or similar type). An Aylmeri jess consists of an anklet, grommet, and a removable strap for attaching the anklet and grommet to the swivel;
(ii) a swivel which is strong enough that the raptor cannot break it, but not so large as to weigh the bird down or injure it;
(iii) a leash of quality leather or synthetic material;
(iv) a bath container, two (2) to six (6) inches deep and wider than the length of the raptor, for drinking and bathing, for each raptor;
(v) an outdoor perch, for each raptor, of such size, strength, and construction as to permit the raptor to grip and hold it with its talons safely and in a manner in keeping with the birds perching habits in the wild; and
(vi) a reliable weighting scale or balance graduated in increments of not more than one half (1/2) ounce (15 grams).
(5) Care will include:
(i) provision at all times of conditions sufficient for maximum health, comfort, safety, and security of the raptor;
(ii) removal of waste and other debris as well as soiled floor covering material as necessary to comply with subparagraph (i) of this paragraph; and
(iii) maintenance of the raptor facilities and equipment in a state of complete repair at all times:
(b) A falconer may designate in writing another person to care for the falconer's raptor(s) in the event that the falconer is absent or in an emergency. If the period of care will exceed 30 days, the falconer must notify and obtain the department's prior approval and inform the department in writing of where the bird is to be held, who is to care for it, and approximately how many days it is to be in the care of the second person.
§173.7 Disposition of raptors
(a) The falconer may transfer a raptor to another person who is licensed to possess raptors. Notification of transfer must be reported to the department in writing, within five (5) days of transfer.
(b) A falconer must report in writing to the department within forty-eight (48) hours of the death or within five (5) days of the escape of a raptor in his or her possession. If a raptor held pursuant to a falconry license dies, its owner must deliver its leg band (if applicable) to the department when written notification is made.
(c) A falconer must obtain authorization from the department before intentionally releasing to the wild any raptor in his or her possession.
(d) A falconer must comply with this Part when obtaining a replacement for a bird which has died, escaped, or been transferred by the falconer to another person.
(e) Feathers that are molted, or feathers from birds held in captivity that die, may not be retained or exchanged except for imping purposes (repair of feather on live birds).
§173.8 Marking of raptors
All peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), and Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) possessed for falconry purposes must be marked in accordance with the following:
(1) Any peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon or Harris hawk, except a captive bred raptor lawfully marked by a numbered, seamless band, must be banded with a permanent, non-reusable, numbered band.
(2) Any peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon or Harris hawk possessed for falconry purposes must be banded at all times. Loss or removal of any band must be reported within five (5) working days and must be replaced with a permanent, non-reusable, numbered band.
The provisions of this Part do not apply to a person who is licensed to possess a raptor for scientific, exhibition or propagation purposes issued pursuant to Section 11-0515 of the Environmental Conservation Law.