Care, Facilities, and Inspections

Federal and state minimum care and facilities requirements are outlined below. Please see the Minnesota Facilities Inspection Form* to preview the form that a Conservation Officer, Nongame Specialist or the Falconry Coordinator will use to inspect facilities and the Minnesota Facilities Handbook* for examples and descriptions of the required items.

*NOTE: THE FACILITIES INSPECTION FORM AND FACILITIES HANDBOOK ARE CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION. PLEASE CONTACT THE FALCONRY COORDINATOR FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Topics in this section include:

  1. Raptor Care Expectations
  2. Facilities and Equipment Standards
    1. Mews (indoor housing)
    2. Weathering Area (outdoor housing)
    3. Equipment
  3. Facilities on Property not Owned by Permittee or Facilities not Located at Permittee's Primary Residence
  4. Moving-Reporting Requirements
  5. Temporary Facilities
    1. Transporting and hunting with raptors
    2. Temporary facilities
    3. Part-year residents
  6. Temporary Raptor Care
    1. Raptor Care by Permitted Individuals
    2. Raptor Care by Non-permitted Individuals
    3. Temporary Care of Propagation Nestlings

1. Raptor Care Expectations

  • All permitted Minnesota falconers are required to have and maintain facilities for the duration of their permit.
  • All raptors possessed by permittees must be housed and cared for according to federal and state regulations in safe, humane, and healthy conditions to assure their well-being at all times.
  • Raptor facilities, both permanent and temporary, must protect the raptors from the environment, predators, and domestic animals at all times.

2. Facilities and Equipment Standards

The facilities and equipment outlined below, along with permit records, may be inspected in the presence of the permittee during business hours on any day of the week by state officials to ensure compliance with regulations and the health and welfare of the raptors in the permittee's possession.

Because of the extreme weather changes in Minnesota, permittees are required to have both a mews and weathering area. The intent of this requirement is that the mews should be able to protect the bird from windy, cold, and freezing temperatures during the winter and the weathering area provides the bird with an area that is cooler during the hot, sunny summer months.

All facilities, whether permanent or temporary, must:

  • Provide a healthy environment for raptors while inside.
  • Protect the raptors from weather and the environment.
  • Protect the raptors from predators and domestic animals.
  • Have a suitable perch for each raptor.
  • Have at least one opening for sunlight.
  • Be large enough to allow easy access for the care and feeding of raptors kept there.
  • Have an area large enough to allow each raptor to fly if it is untethered or, if tethered, to fully extend its wings or bate (attempt to fly while tethered) without damaging its feathers or contacting other raptors.
  • Have access to a pan of clean water for each raptor unless weather conditions, the perch type used, or some other factor makes access to a water pan unsafe for the raptor.

A. Mews (indoor housing)

The purpose of the mews is to provide the raptor with a safe, secure "home" where it is protected from predators, domestic animals, and the environment, especially during the cold, windy winter months. In addition to the minimum requirements that permanent and temporary facilities must have (listed above), an indoor facility should be well ventilated, but keep the raptor relatively free from drafts during the winter (certain species may also need supplemental heat or insulation). The structure should be soundly constructed and entirely enclosed, and the floor should be dry or well drained and easily cleaned. Falconry facilities should be dedicated to falconry; not shared with pets or livestock.

Acceptable indoor facilities include:

  • Freestanding structures or structures that are part of an existing structure (raptor facilities must be separate from domestic animal and livestock facilities).
  • Shelf perch enclosures where raptors are tethered side by side.
  • Raptors may be tethered or untethered.
    • Untethered raptors may be housed together if they are compatible with each other.
    • If raptors are not tethered, all walls that are not solid (such as windows) must be protected on the inside with vertical bars spaced narrower than the width of the body of the smallest raptor housed in the enclosure. Heavy-duty netting or other such materials may be used to cover the walls or roof of the enclosure, but it is not preferred as the bird may get caught up in the material.
    • If the raptors are not tethered, the risk of raptor injury due to collision with interior or perimeter construction materials and equipment, such as support poles, windows, netting, perches, or lights must be minimized.
  • A space within a place of residence.
    • The raptors must be provided with a suitable perch.
    • Windows and other openings of the structure do not need to be modified.
    • Raptors must be tethered when they are not being moved into or out of the location in which they are kept.
  • Other innovative housing systems are acceptable if they provide the enclosed raptors with protection and allow them to maintain healthy feathers.
  • Propagation raptors and other raptors in possession do not have to have separate housing; however, propagation raptors must be kept separate from raptors that are not authorized for propagation.
  • An eyass raptor may be kept in any suitable container or enclosure until it is capable of flight.

Please see the Minnesota Facilities Handbook for more information and examples of acceptable facilities.

B. Weathering area (outdoor housing)

The weathering area is a fenced "yard" for the raptor that allows it to enjoy the outdoors, particularly in the sunny, warm summer months. In addition to the minimum requirements that permanent and temporary facilities must have (listed above), outdoor facilities:

  • Must be totally enclosed.
  • Must be covered (roof or fencing).
  • Must have at least one covered perch to protect each raptor held in it from the weather (roof, tarp, or other material to block sun and rain).
  • May be made of heavy-gauge wire, heavy duty plastic mesh, slats, pipe, wood, or other suitable material.
    • Depending on the construction materials (wire, mesh, chain-link, etc.) the raptor may need to be tethered.
    • Chicken wire is not recommended.
  • Must be large enough to insure that the birds cannot strike the enclosure when flying from the perch (if untethered).

New types of housing facilities and/or husbandry practices may be used if they satisfy the requirements above and are approved by the Falconry Coordinator.

Falconry raptors may be kept outside in the open if they are continuously watched, by the falconer or a family member, at any location. They may also be watched by a designated individual in a weathering yard at a falconry meet.

Please see the Minnesota Facilities Handbook for more information and examples of acceptable facilities.

C. Equipment

Although a falconer may need many items to care for their raptor, the only required items are:

  • jesses or the materials and equipment to make them;
  • leash and swivel;
  • bath container; and
  • appropriate scales or balances for weighing raptor(s).

Other common items that a falconer may need are:

  • hood;
  • movable metal hoop stand; and
  • giant hood

Please see the Minnesota Facilities Handbook for more information and equipment examples.

3. Facilities on Property not Owned by the Permittee or Facilities not located at Permittee's Primary Residence

Falconry facilities may be on property not owned by the permittee:

  • If the permittee's primary residence is also located at that property.
  • If the permittee's primary residence and the facilities are 30 miles or less apart.
  • If the permittee's primary residence and the facilities are over 30 miles apart and used for 120 days or less annually.

Regardless of location, the raptors must be maintained in a humane and healthy manner, and the facilities must comply with federal regulations.

When facilities are on property not owned by the permittee, the property owner must sign and date a statement showing that they agree that the falconry facilities and raptors may be inspected by State authorities at any reasonable time of day in the presence of the property owner; except that the authorities may not enter the facilities or disturb the raptors unless the permittee is present.

4. Moving-Reporting Requirements

  • All falconry and propagation permittees must report a permanent change in the location of their permitted facilities to the Minnesota Falconry Coordinator within five days following the move.
  • Until new facilities are inspected, the permittee must house their raptors as described below under "Temporary Facilities" or "Temporary Raptor Care"
  • Persons moving out of state must comply with the above regulations, but they must also contact the Falconry Coordinator in the state to which they are moving within 30 days and comply with that state's regulations.
    • Permittees may keep falconry birds that they possess while applying for a falconry permit in a new state. However, the State, tribe, or territory into which they move may place restrictions on their possession of falconry birds until they meet the residency requirements there.
    • Permittees moving to states that require a residency period prior to being able to obtain a falconry permit within that state may retain their Minnesota Falconry Permit, provided they submit written approval of the coordinator in the new state. The updated Minnesota Falconry Permit will expire on the date that residency requirements have been met. The updated permit will not authorize the permittee to possess birds under the permit; they may only use the permit to fly and hunt with raptors provided they follow the regulations of their new state. If the permittee has raptors in their possession at the time of a move, the raptors may need to be transferred to another permittee until they obtain the falconry permit of the new state.
    • Propagation permits are not transferrable out of state.

5. Temporary Facilities

A. Transporting and Hunting with Raptors

When raptors are being transported, used for hunting, or are away from home, permittees must ensure that the bird has a suitable perch and is protected from extreme temperatures, wind, and excessive disturbance. A “giant hood” or similar container is acceptable for transporting or housing a raptor when away from the permanent facilities. When trapping, transporting, working with, or flying raptors, the permittee must have their permit or legible copies of their permit in their immediate possession.

B. Temporary Facilities

Temporary facilities that will house the bird for longer than a hunting weekend, such as during a move or during temporary work assignments, must provide the raptor with a suitable perch and protection from predators, domestic animals, extreme temperatures, wind, and excessive disturbance (see "Facilities and Equipment Standards" for a list of minimum requirements all facilities, whether permanent or temporary, must have).

A raptor may be held in temporary facilities:

  • For a period not to exceed 30 days
  • Upon request, the Falconry Coordinator, in writing, may extend the period the permittee may temporarily house their raptors for up to 120 calendar days.

After 120 days:

  • The raptor must be housed in permanent facilities as outlined above under "Facilities and Equipment Standards".
    • The facilities must be inspected and approved by a Conservation Officer, Nongame Specialist, or Falconry Coordinator
    • The new facilities location must be added to the permittee's permit.
  • Permittees may also transfer their raptors to other permittees, provided that permittee has room to accommodate the raptors and is authorized to have those species.

C. Part-year Residents

  • Minnesota Resident Falconers that house their raptors at a location other than their primary facilities for more than 120 consecutive days:
    • Must request to add the facilities at the second location to their Minnesota Falconry Permit.
    • Must comply with state and federal regulations for both facilities locations and have the facilities at the 2nd location inspected (whether it is in Minnesota or a different state).
    • May also be required to obtain a permit in the state, tribe, or territory where the permittee lives part time.
  • Nonresident falconers who reside in Minnesota for 120 days or more with their birds:

6. Temporary Raptor Care

A permitted raptor, including a nestling, may be temporarily held by a person other than the permittee. The permittee must inform the Falconry Coordinator, in writing, within ten days of the transfer, specifying:

  1. Where the raptor is to be held.
  2. The reason for the transfer.
  3. Who is to care for the raptor.
  4. What that person is allowed to do with the raptor.
  5. Approximately how many days the raptor is expected to be in the care of the person.

A. Raptor Care by Permitted Individuals

Falconry raptors may be cared for by another permitted falconer:

  • Care may be at the permittees facilities or at the facilities of the other falconer.
  • Care may be provided for up to 120 consecutive calendar days.
    • Care of the raptors may be extended indefinitely in extenuating circumstances, such as illness, military service, or for a family emergency. Such instances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • The raptors must be reported as a loan or transfer with appropriate paperwork submitted within ten days.
  • The raptors will remain on the falconry permit of the original falconer when reported as a loan and will not be counted against the possession limit of the person caring for the raptors.
  • If the person caring for the raptors holds the appropriate level falconry permit, they may fly the raptors in whatever way authorized by the original permit holder, including hunting.
  • The person caring for the raptors must have a signed and dated statement from the original permit holder authorizing the temporary possession and copies of the 3-186a forms. The statement must include information about the time period for which they will keep the raptors, and about what they are allowed to do with the raptors.
  • EXCEPTION: The temporary care of a falconry raptor by a permitted propagator for propagation purposes only requires submission of a 3-186a. Terms less than 120 days may be reported as a loan to that person's propagation permit. Terms longer than 120 days require submission of a 3-186a reported as a transfer to that person's propagation permit.

Propagation raptors may be cared for by another permittee:

  • Care may be provided for up to 120 calendar days.
    • Care of the raptors longer than 120 days requires submission of a 3-186a reported as a transfer to that person's permit.
  • The raptors must be reported as a loan or transfer with appropriate paperwork submitted within ten days.
  • The raptors will remain on the permit of the original propagator when reported as a loan and will not be counted against the possession limit of the person caring for the raptors.
  • The person caring for the raptors must have a signed and dated statement from the original permit holder authorizing the temporary care for the birds. The date care begins must be noted in the letter.
  • The raptors may not be used in falconry or in propagation.
    • Use of the raptors in falconry or captive propagation requires submission of a 3-186a reported as a transfer to that person's permit.

B. Raptor Care by Non-permitted Individuals

Falconry raptors may be cared for by someone who does not have a falconry permit:

  • Care may be provided for up to 45 consecutive calendar days
    • This care may be extended indefinitely in extenuating circumstances, such as illness, military service, or for a family emergency. Such instances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • The raptors must remain at the falconer's facilities.
  • The raptors will remain on the falconer's falconry permit.
  • The person caring for the raptors may not fly them for any reason.

Propagation raptors may be cared for by someone who does not have a permit:

  • Care may be provided for up to 120 consecutive calendar days.
    • This care may be extended indefinitely in extenuating circumstances, such as illness, military service, or for a family emergency. Such instances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • The raptors must remain at the propagator's facilities.
  • The raptors will remain on the propagator's permit.
  • The person caring for the raptors may not fly them for any reason.

C. Temporary Care of Propagation Nestlings

Propagation nestlings may be cared for by someone who does not hold a migratory bird permit:

  • Another person may temporarily care for and band nestlings from the time they are hatched until they are fully feathered.
  • The other person is allowed to keep the nestlings at another location.
  • The person caring for the raptors must have a signed and dated statement from the original permit holder authorizing the temporary care for the birds. The date care begins must be noted in the letter.
  • The care can be part of each day during the nestling period so that the nestlings can be fed, or it can be a series of full days if transport to and from the breeding facility is not practical or needed.

The above information is a brief summary of the state and federal falconry regulations. For complete falconry regulations, consult Minnesota Rules Chapter 6234.0800, Chapter 6238, and Federal Regulations 50-CRF 21.29 and 50-CRF 21.30.