Housing in falconry can typically be defined as either a weathering area or a mews. A mews is typically meant to house the bird indoors, usually constructed in a shed, while a weathering area is designed for the bird to be exposed to weather.
In Florida you are allowed three housing options. A mews, or a weathering area, or housing indoors with supervised perching outside. The keyword is -OR-. At this time you are not required to have more than one type of housing for Florida.
Weathering area requirements: Outdoor (weathering) facilities shall be fenced and covered with netting, wire or roof. The enclosed area shall be large enough to ensure the bird can not strike the fence when flying from a perch. Adequate perches and protection from excessive sun, wind and inclement weather shall be provided for each bird.
Mews Requirements: Indoor facilities or mews shall be large enough to allow easy access for caring for the raptors housed in a facility. Multiple raptors may be housed together. Raptors that are compatable with each other may be housed together unteathered. Raptors that are not compatable with each other must be teathered or seperated by a partition. There shall be a suitable perch for each raptor and the mew must be large enough to permit flight of unteathered raptors, or if teathered to fully extend it’s wings or bate (attempt to fly while teathered) without damaging it’s feathers or contacting other raptors in the mew. There shall be at least one window protected by vertical bars spaced narrower than the width of the bird’s body, wooden or plastic lattice, or heavy duty netting, and a secure door that can be easily closed. The floor of the mews shall permit easy cleaning and shall be well drained.
Indoor Housing Requirements: Permittee may keep a falconry raptor or raptors inside a place of residence if the raptor is provided a suitable perch or perches. Permittee is not required to modify windows or other openings of the structure. Raptors kept in the home must be teathered unless being moved into or out of the location in which they are kept. Raptors kept in these conditions must have access to outdoor facility of acceptable design which provides a suitable perch, water and protection from predators both wild and domestic, or raptors must be weathered outdoors under direct supervision to provide for protection from predators both wild and domestic.
Photo – Nel and Eleven, two aplomado falcons enjoying their weathering area which was built on an apartment balcony.
One of the questions I see a lot is how to house a bird in an apartment. I had this very same question when I got started, and as a falconer living in an apartment I’m happy to provide what information I can on the subject.
I wrote up a document on the subject a while back which I will provide. However, these are the basics and most important things for you to consider:
- You must check your city ordinances and see their rules involving captive wildlife. Some places do not allow captive wildlife within city limits. This is something, ideally, you should do wherever you live.
- Check your condo charter/rules for any pet restrictions. If they don’t specifically mention birds you have a point to argue should it come to that.
- You need your landlord’s written permission. For me, my landlord is my father, and he is also on the condo HOA board. So he was able to approve and let everyone important know.
- FWC needs a signed letter. This is stated within the Falconry Regulations for the State of Florida. See Below:
b) Resident facilities on property not owned by the permittee:
- Resident facilities must meet the standards in this rule; and
- Permittee must submit to FWC a signed and dated statement showing that the permittee and the property owner agree that the falconry facilities, equipment, and raptors may be inspected without advance notice by FWC personnel at any reasonable time of day.
5.) Now that all of that is done, it’s time to look at raptor housing.
Here you can find the rest of my article on the subject: Falconry in an Apartment