Birds of prey

image of Birds of prey
Online Access: £ 25.00 + VAT
BSAVA Library Pass Buy a pass


This chapter provides the need-to-know information on birds of prey:

  • Biology
  • Husbandry
  • Handling and restraint
  • Diagnostic approach
  • Common conditions
  • Supportive care
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia
  • Euthanasia
  • Drug formulary.

Preview this chapter:
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



Image of 11.2
11.2 Some falconry species. Harris’ hawk tethered on bow perch (note provision of water for bathing and drinking). Lanner. Saker. Merlin. Eurasian eagle owl. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.5
11.5 The female peregrine is larger than the male. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.7
11.7 Falconry equipment. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.8
11.8 Lateral radiograph showing ‘collapsed spine’ in a juvenile Bengalese eagle owl reared on a meat-based diet. Failure to provide bone or vitamin/mineral supplementation resulted in nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. Spinal deformities appear a common consequence in these large fast-growing owls. Atherosclerosis in a falcon. Lateral radiograph showing a thickened aorta. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.9
11.9 Microchip implantation site/intramuscular injection site highlighted in the left pectoral muscle of this emaciated kestrel. (Reproduced from the .) (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.10
11.10 Casting. Harris’ hawk cast in a towel. Towel removed. Note the position of the fingers holding the legs. Holding the feet. Note the fingers between the legs. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.12
11.12 Bruising on the surface of the globe is visible in the ear of this tawny owl. It can be deduced that there will be haemorrhage within the posterior chamber of the eye. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.13
11.13 nematodes in the pharynx of a tawny owl. Choanal slit of a striated caracara. Ideal site for entry of an endoscope or swab in investigation of upper respiratory tract disease. Discharge or haemorrhage from this slit may give information regarding the health of the upper respiratory system. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.14
11.14 Right jugular vein of a peregrine falcon. Note the large featherless tract under which the vein lies. (© J. Chitty.) Venepuncture of the caudal tibial vein of a vulture. (Courtesy of the Hawk Conservancy Trust.) (Reproduced from the .)
Image of 11.17
11.17 Syringeal aspergilloma in a falcon. Large aspergilloma in the air sacs of a falcon. These large encapsulated fungal abscesses will require months of medical therapy and probably surgical debridement. It is unlikely the bird will return to full hunting fitness. Therefore, many falconers will elect for euthanasia rather than incur the significant expense of treatment. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.18
11.18 Type 1 bumblefoot. Note the flattening of skin papillae and erythema of the skin. Early Type 2 bumblefoot. Progression to foot abscessation and scab formation. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.19
11.19 A simple bumblefoot dressing designed to take pressure off the lesion and to allow the falconer to apply daily topical treatment to the lesion. Foam swimming ‘noodles’ are used to create the padding (a thick slice is cut from the noodle). The foam slice is measured against the foot. The outline of the foot is drawn on the foam and space for the toes excavated from the foam. The foam is then placed on the foot. A hole is then cut in the foam over the lesion on the ventrum of the foot. The foam is then bandaged on to the foot using cohesive dressing. The hole is left open. Ball bandage (suitable for protection of the foot or for therapy of fractured toes). Cohesive bandage is used to wrap the foot around a ball (in this case, a wad of cotton wool). The ends of the toes and the talons are left clear of the bandage, allowing slight movement of the toes. This is important in preventing tendons from becoming incorporated in the toe fracture callus. Ball bandages should never be left on longer than 5 days for this reason. (Reproduced from the .) (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.20
11.20 Ectoparasites in raptors. Tick reaction in a barn owl. Note the extensive swelling around the right eye. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.21
11.21 Endoparasites in raptors. in a peripheral blood smear from a collapsed anaemic Harris’ hawk. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.22
11.22 Wing tip oedema in a falcon. Note the oedema between the feather follicles. Blaine in a Harris’ hawk. Note the swelling is centred on the carpus and is secondary to trauma. This should be distinguished from WTONS. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.23
11.23 The most common fracture seen is that of the tibiotarsus (there is a thinning and weakness about the point where the fibula ends). Typically, this is a simple fracture approximately one-third to halfway along the bone. It is seen in young, recently jessed Harris’ hawks that have been given too long a leash; as they bate off, so they build up considerable momentum when they hit the end of the leash. These are relatively simple to fix, remembering that attention must be paid to bone length and rotation. An intramedullary pin tied into a Type 1 external fixator. Where cost is an issue, the intramedullary pin can be left ‘proud’ of the skin and an aluminium finger splint used to make a box around the tibiotarsus (held over the pin above the stifle and wrapped under the flexed tarsus). The splint is removed after 5–7 days and the pin 10–14 days later. (© J. Chitty.)
Image of 11.24
11.24 Hospitalized falcon with a tail guard made from an autoclave bag. (© J. Chitty.)
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error