getting Started
There are many shapes and sizes of mews. There really are few constraints except the legal ones, your own living situation, and the bird's needs. Many mews designs appear to us as very unattractive, but are actually much more sensitive to the bird's needs. While we would design a mews for ourselves that had many open windows, many birds become nervous when they cannot hide. Dark corners which, to us, look spooky, become preferred perching places.

Providing materials such as a translucent roof brings light in and barred windows which, from some angles, appear to be solid are excellent features. The flip side to the concern there is that it lets in too much heat in some climates and will overheat the bird.

There are generally two well-defined entities - a weathering yard and a mews. A weathering yard is an open area where the bird may safely spend her days during good weather. A mews is where she will live and is traditionally a stand-alone building completely enclosed. However, there are many structures that are hybrids or are only one or the other, and many situations where birds are kept in other ways.
Birds are generally kept in one of two ways - they are either tethered to a perch and dependent on the falconer moving them and providing for their needs, or they are free-lofted loose in an enclosure.

If you have not yet planned your mews, try to visit several local falconers to get ideas of what works in your area or what has worked for them. They will have definite opinions on what worked for them and what didn't and how they would improve their current setup.

The purpose of a hood is to calm the bird. These birds are so visually oriented that they are not fearful of what they cannot see. If they cannot see it, then it must not be there. A freshly trapped bird with a hood on will eat on the fist within minutes or hours of trapping, even if it is standing on the fist of a person. Simply because she cannot see anything alarming, there is nothing to be alarmed about. Hoods protect the bird and allow ease of control of situations that otherwise could be startling to the bird.

Hoods are made of leather, either calf skin or more preferably kangaroo hide. Thinner and more stiff (for certain styles) is preferred. Braces are traditionally made of leather, but more recently made of GoreTex strips. Decorations can be done using dyes, various skins such as lizard, or feathers. Stitching should be done with waxed thread to ensure strength and longevity. Hoods should always be stored open, not closed.

Leather hoods made with the smooth side out around the face are lacquered for the longest life-span. This allows the smooth leather to be cleaned well if the bird eats in the hood. The rest of the hood around the back and over the eyes may be suede which won't show as much wear if the bird scratches. For trapping hoods it doesn't matter as they are intended for short term usage. Braces should be stiff so that they do not touch any of her feathers and short enough that the bird cannot bite them. The base of the beak opening must be wide enough to allow for the bird's beak to open. If this opening is not large enough, the hood will not fit properly and the bird will resent it.
Perches are one of the most important pieces of equipment for your bird. Having a perch that has a proper perching surface and is designed for the safety and comfort of your bird is crucial. However, there is no perfect perch. There's a saying in the horse world that for every type of fence, somebody has a horror story to go with it. Even the most poorly designed perches typically don't pose that level of safety hazard, but the design constraints involved must be recognized so that you can pick the best perch for you, your bird, and your situation. Eventually you will want to make modifications to improve whatever design you like, and recognizing the design aspects and constraints will help you. And it's not just the design of the perch to be considered, but the environment, the management techniques, the falconer's preferences, and the bird's behaviours. There are many things working together in a system to produce a healthy and happy bird, which is also the reason why one particular setup works fantastic for a falconer over his entire life and fails terribly for another falconer. There are a lot of tiny variables to consider that may produce success or failure, none of which should be mandated or regulated.

Equipment is not a place to scrimp. Pay for good, solid equipment and take good care of it. A well-made perch can last years with proper care. And good equipment is more likely to encourage safety and health.

Block Perch
Block perches can be incredible works of art made of marble, cast of plaster, turned from wood, or they can be very simple. As long as it is safe and comfortable, it will serve its purpose. There are a few main styles of blocks. The Arab style block typically features a flat platform supported by a narrow body. The English style block typically is one solid piece with a flat platform tapering slightly to a very wide body. There are many other styles that have developed taking various features and materials, but these are the most traditional.

Bow Perch
The basic bow perch is just that - a bow of metal or wood with a perching surface where the bird will stand. These can be made in all different sizes. With a bow perch, the diameter of the perch is of consequence. A bow that is too small in diameter will allow the bird's talons to hit the skin on the opposite side of the foot, possibly causing damage. A bow too wide in diameter is uncomfortable. It is best to provide several different diameters for your bird by giving her several perches as that will ensure that the whole bottom of the foot is treated properly.

Ring Perch
Rotating Ring Perch, these are sometimes maligned as having too many moving parts. They are compact and stable as they have a single spike that typically goes into the ground.

Screen Perch
These are excellent perches in the right hands, and disasters if used incorrectly. A newly trapped bird will also have difficulty with the physics of her new situation and is not recommended to be placed immediately on a screen perch. Any bird that has not been introduced to a screen perch must be watched carefully to insure its safety. A bird who does not understand the screen perch or has a poorly designed one can damage her feathers, or even injure herself.
Also called a
BC Falconry Permits

Live wildlife possession permits issued by the Ministry for raptors include an annual reporting requirement detailing the status and description of raptors in possession.
Possession permits will only be issued to first-time falconers after their mews (raptor housing structures) have been built, inspected, and found to meet appropriate Ministry standards. All falconry equipment ie: perches, glove, leashes, jesses, alymeri bracelets, hoods and most important, a scale.
Falconers are required to have an appropriate hunting licence when using their birds to hunt prey. To hunt migratory birds such as ducks you will need a hunting licence and a migratory bird stamp. A hunter number is required to get hunting licence.
CORE accreditation is required to get a hunter number.
Falconry permits enable them to capture, transport, possess, import and export live raptors.

Aba A cloth wrap that immobilizes a bird to calm her or hold her for examination.

Anklets The leather strap which goes around the bird's leg. The jesses are attached to this. Sometimes also called a bracelet.

Aylmeri Leather anklets and jesses designed by the late Guy Aylmeri; replacement for traditional jesses.

Bal Chatri A traditional trap used by many raptor banders, rehabilitators, and falconers commonly called a BC. This is one of the safest and simplest traps available. It is a small cage for bait keeping them separate from an attacking bird, then small monofilament nooses over the top that will ensnare the toes.

Bells Exactly that: small bells attached to the bird's tarsus, tail, or around the neck. The benefit of this is to be able to hear the bird when she is in trees hidden by leaves or on the ground on quarry hidden by brush.

Bewit Small strips of leather which attach the bells or other hardware to the bird's leg. If a different material is used as a bewit, it should not be attached directly to the leg, but rather to the anklet. A cable tie is a great convenience, but must never be attached around the bird's leg.

Block perch The traditional perch for a falcon.

Bow net A trap that, when set, looks like a circle laying on the ground. When the bird comes in to investigate the bait, the trap is sprung causing the circle to release over the bird creating a semi-circle and a bag of net over the now trapped bird.

Bow perch The traditional perch for a hawk.

Braces Straps on the hood which open and close it.

Brail A leather thong used to restrain one wing on a bird to prevent it from bating, especially during manning.

Button The folded section of leather that acts as a stopper for the jesses against the anklet, or the braided end of a leash. This may also be called a knurl.

Cadge A frame used to carry several birds at once.

Chaps Chaps are leg protectors for a bird, primarily used when hunting squirrels as the squirrel teeth can severely damage a bird's leg or toe.

Creance A long line or cord attached to the bird while training. Ten yards is going to work for most situations, but for free flights to verify that your bird is ready to be taken from the creance, many recommend 50 yards in length.

Dho-gazza A trap consisting of a net suspended between a bird and bait. The bird flies into the net and the net collapses around the bird entangling her. This can be more stressful than some other traps as the bird must be sorted out from the netting.

Draw the braces To pull the braces of a hood such that they tighten and close.

Gauntlet The glove worn by the falconer, traditionally on the left hand.

Halsband The German term for a strap of leather looped around the bird's neck and then hung down to help propel the bird (mainly Accipiters). Also called a jangoli. Here it is pictured with an accompanying neck bell. Photo courtesy of Kory Koch.

Hawk Box The box used to contain a bird for travel; also called a giant hood.

Hood The leather head covering used on hawks and falcons. The purpose of the hood is to hide the stimulus of the world from the bird to calm her or prevent her from reacting to things.
Jess Traditionally, these are leather strips which go through the anklets so the falconer can hold the bird or attach the leash. Modern jesses are of many types of material including parachute cord and various braids.

Jess Extender This piece of furniture has two functions. First, it requires dexterity to slide the swivel up the jesses and then back through. The jess extender can make this easier, especially for those less deft. Second, the jess extender extends the swivel away from the bird. With a perch such as the Meng perch, a bate will cause the swivel to pass through the tail and damage it. However, if there is a jess extender long enough that the swivel is not allowed to pass through the tail, then the tail will be saved. Extending the swivel beyond the tail tip by 1" or 1.5" is far enough.

Leash Traditionally leather, this is what attaches the bird to the perch or falconer's glove. Modern leashes have taken many forms and many materials are used.

Lure An effigy that resembles a bird/rabbit etc.. For training birds to feathered quarry, a feathered lure which looks like a bird is used, sometimes even mimicking the wing beats. For training to rabbits, birds such as Red-Tails are not terribly picky and will respond to almost anything they are trained to.

Ring perch A perch made out of a circular piece of metal where the hawk stands on top.

Scale A modern addition to falconry, but used by most modern falconers to ensure their bird's health. Much like an athlete knows his nutritional intake and his varying weights, so the falconer carefully watches his bird's condition. Large birds such as eagles do not need a finely graduated scale. Smaller birds such as a Kestrel need a scale which can weigh out to the tenth of a gram, and smaller birds need to be weighed several times a day. Some falconers prefer manual balances and others prefer digital scales. A kitchen quality scale will not be precise enough for this task, though, but digital scales have increasingly become more accurate and stable, although they can still be less accurate at low ambient temperatures or high humidity. A spring-loaded scale (like a food scale or a cheap postal scale) will vary with temperature and age. Most falconers will apply Astroturf, cork, or another comfortable surface to the balance pan for the bird to stand on. Others place a short T-perch onto the pan for the bird. Almost every species of bird should be weighed in grams (not ounces or pounds) so that you get the most granular measurement of your bird's weight.

Screen perch A perch made of a vertical wall or screen topped by a bar for the bird to stand on.

Swivel Small metal joint used in between the leash and the jesses. When these birds are on the perch, they make many small movements turning around and such. Without the swivel they would very quickly become entangled and endanger themselves.

Tail guard The feathers of an Accipiter are notoriously brittle. To prevent unnecessary tail breakage, a cover is placed over the tail or many of these birds. For Goshawks this is frequently made of X-ray film paper and for smaller birds like a Sharp Shin, this is made of overhead projector film, or another stiff, but light-weight film. These are attached to the tail by a tail mounted bell/transmitter and are removed for hunting and much of the weathering. Birds who are not allowed to weather without the guard on will develop even more brittle tails as they are prevented from properly preening their tail feathers. Tail guards can also hold moisture and allow feathers to rot if left on for extended amounts of time.

Telemetry Modern evolution of bells. A small transmitter is attached to the bird and the falconer has a receiver tuned to the bird's frequency. If the bird is unable to be found, the telemetry is used to locate her. This is one of the most revolutionary changes for modern falconry allowing falconers to fly the same bird for a longer period of time without her being lost, allows other falconers with receivers to assist in finding a lost bird, and allows the falcon to be flown at higher weights then ever before.

Yagi The hand-held antenna receiver portion of telemetry.