In the world of bird keeping, the enclosures that are used for certain species have distinctive names. Pigeons are kept in lofts, chickens in coops, and falconers keep their birds in structures known as mews. The mews is one of two well-defined items that comprise the housing for a falcon that will be used in the sport of falconry.
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The basic setup for a falconer is made up of a weathering yard and a mews, according to TheModernApprentice.com. The weathering yard is an open area where the falcon can spend its day safely when the weather permits. The mews is an enclosure and is often a stand-alone structure. There is a wealth of diversity in the design of falcon mews, and many incorporate a hybrid model that combines the weathering yard and the mews itself.
The mews is where the falcon will spend all of its time when not free-flying or in its weathering yard. Therefore, it must accommodate the needs of the bird and be constructed in a way that keeps the bird safe and protected from the elements. It is not designed to display the bird, and often the mews will not be a visually appealing structure. This is to properly serve the needs of its inhabitant.
Requirements of a Falcon Mews
According to ehfalconry.wordpress.com, these are the minimum requirements for the indoor facility or the falcon’s mews in New York State:
- The indoor facility must measure 8x8x8 feet (2.43×2.43×2.43 meters).
- It must have at least one entry that is protected by a double door entry system.
- The enclosure must contain at least one east or south facing window with vertical bars that will not allow the bird to escape.
- The mews must have a floor that is easily cleaned.
- It must have one perch if your bird will be tethered, more if it will be free inside the mews.
Other localities may have different minimum size restrictions, so check your local falconry association for specific details. You should not have any higher beams or possible perching locations if you tether your bird as it will want to get to the higher location which will cause undue stress to the animal.
You will need to provide water for your bird and dark places to perch. Too much light will stress your bird, though complete darkness is not a good option either. Well placed windows that allow light to come in but still afford darker perching locations will make your bird feel safe and secure.
Two door entry systems protect your bird from accidental escape and are often used when constructing a mews. The area between the doors makes for a handy supply or storage area as well as keeping your bird safe.
Your bird’s safety is the primary concern. This means that the mews needs to be completely enclosed and if possible located in a private and protected area. Predators will take advantage of your bird if they can, so you need to ensure that there are no entry points for foxes or other animals to get inside.
For more information on choosing the correct wire mesh for your falconry mews, check out our guide here.
Designs for Falcon Mews
Falcon mews come in an almost unlimited variety of shapes and sizes that are determined by the space available to the falconer and the needs of the bird they are keeping. Kestrels need less space than Red-Tailed Hawks and therefore can be housed in a smaller news. Below is a video showing a mews constructed to house a hawk.
Hybrid systems that combine a weathering yard with the mews are an option that many falconers take if they have sufficient room. As long as the bird’s basic needs and any legal requirements are fulfilled, a falconer can be as creative as they wish in building a mews for their bird.
If you’re interested in falconry mews, then you might also want to check out our guide on how to become a falconer.