Harry Makes It Look So Easy

I think that showing an owl is a lot of work.  Oh so rewarding, but a lot of work.  Over the past 24 hours, I’ve spent nearly 10 hours with one on my hand, so–while I’m not an expert–I’ve at least got a clue.

Bringing one to a show involves preparing them for the experience.

They have to be fed appropriately.  Not “filled up,” but not hungry enough to be ornery.

Their anklets need to be checked for comfort and security, and their jesses need to be inspected as well.  The equipment cannot fail.

Their jesses must have a swivel attached; that, too, needs to be checked for security.

A leash is attached to the swivel, typically before transporting the bird.  Once on site, the owl must be secure.

(Keeping the owl secure is a really big deal.)

Food, normally in the form of mice, must be thawed and packaged for the day.

The owl is placed in its travel cage.  It’s not uncommon for these to look exactly like a large dog crate covered with a fabric drape.

As it leaves the cage, the leash is secured by passing it and the jesses between the thumb and forefinger of your gloved hand from the back, across the palm, and back out between the middle and ring fingers.  The leash is wrapped several times around the first two fingers.  In addition to the leash, the swivel is clipped to a strap attached to the glove.

The owl is held with a roughly horizontal hand.  He or she will adjust position until comfortable.

That’s it–that’s all there is to it.

Thanks, Max, for a great few days.  You were a champ!


Max is a male Eurasian eagle owl.

13 thoughts on “Harry Makes It Look So Easy”

  1. What an experience! I’m glad you wrote about it and glad you shared it with us.
    You don’t mention weight- your owl looks heavy!
    Have you read H is for Hawk? A story of travelling through grief but also of raptor training.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is so awesome. I’m fascinated by owls. While we have Great Horned Owls in our neighborhood and an active local Raptor Rescue, I’ve never imagined getting involved–until now.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Way near the top of my bucket list is to see an owl in the wild. I hear them at night in our suburban neighborhood, but I have no idea how to find one. Your owl is absolutely awesome; an amazing specimen.
    How proud you both look!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keeping an owl is a difficult thing to do. You have to be federally permitted to do so, and they’re a lot of work. I’m happy to work with someone else who’s part of a raptor education organization. The organization, Rise Raptor, does about 60 shows a year, all of them educational. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I live in the city with the largest urban forest area in the United States, and we have a lot of owls and other raptors. As a result, our zoo rehabilitates ones that are injured and can no longer survive in the wild. They do education shows in the summer, and it never gets old watching all the beautiful raptors. What a great type of education to be able to bring to people!

        Liked by 1 person

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