Falconry – Hood Making – American Kestrel

When season comes around in fall, I plan to train an American Kestrel(the smallest falcon in N. America). They are tiny raptors, weighing around 100 grams and are roughly the size a mourning dove. They hunt grasshoppers all the way up to starlings. They have the ability to hover while targeting prey and are very agile in flight.

This will be a brief overview of my 1st attempt at hood making.

Below is the hood after the pieces were stitched together on the rough side, then the hood is moistened and turned outside-in to “hide” the stitching.(Editors note- Hoods are actually less commonly used in the US. They are used to limit visual stimulus that can startle a bird while around people. Hooding a raptor does not harm them.)

It took roughly 6 hours for me to get this far… The stitches were the hardest part, you have to be very careful with the thin kip leather.

Below, the hood is completed and unstained. I wanted to add a feather for a little “flare”. The long ends of leather are called braces, they are used to gently secure the hood on the falcons head.

kestrel hood
Rear view, without stain
kestrel hood
Complete, without stain

Here I added a few coats of saddle brown stain to darken it up a bit.

kestrel hood
Complete, after stain
kestrel hood1
The inside, completed. The strips are glued down and prevent light from coming through the stitching(mine were not as tight as they should have been).



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