Building a Mews

There are many ways to build a mews for your hawk. The state has a minimum set of requirements which all falconers must meet. It is generally advisable to build more than these minimums, in order to afford you a variety of ways to use the space, accommodate individual hawk's needs, and generally make your falconry life a bit simpler and more comfortable.

Obviously, not everyone has the space, desire, or budget to do everything. However, if you're pausing and saying "gosh this looks expensive" - you're right! It can be. It's a great idea to get into the field with some falconers and get a strong sense if this sport is right for you before construction begins. You'll also be able to look at several other falconers mews, and they can point out areas where they would perhaps build differently, or advise you what areas they consider necessary to build more than the regulation minimum. 

Presented here are some of the best examples we can find of mews built in New York State, as well as a blueprint for them (where available). Again, these should be viewed as a "gold standard" of construction - all exceed the state minimum standards, in some cases by a huge amount - not necessarily the "must have" for aspiring falconers. In all cases, we're going to aim to point out the general points that all falconers can take away from these constructions, regardless of budget or skill.  

Multi-Hawk Facility with plumbing, electric, storage

This mews is perhaps one of the nicest privately owned facilities in the state, in terms of full amenities and best-practices. We'll start here. 

A photo of the basic shape of the building.

Note the large, separated weathering area to the left, and windows on all side (which can be shuttered). The right hand portion is a partitioned prep room, with plumbing and electric for game prep, with chambers in the center. There is a loft above for storage, gear, spare perches, etc to keep them clear of daily activities. 

The central room under construction. While this space is much larger than is needed for a single hawk, it can be subdivided as necessary into two smaller, but still above regulation chambers if two hawks were desired, or left open for a single hawk. Note the doors and windows leading to the weathering area, so a hawk could be tethered or free-lofted as species and temperament permit. 

Weathering area. Note that vertical bars prevent the hawk from reaching out, and provide no hard 90-degree corners for wings or feather to be broken against. There is also a layer of predator mesh on the outside of the weathering area, well-away from the PVC conduit bars (dowel rod would work here, but likely cost far more). Beneath the pea gravel is a drained concrete pad. 

You may also note that the doors are weatherproofed exterior doors - this particular facility has heated floors and insulated walls, so that the falconer can control temperature absolutely in all conditions, thus ensuring the best possible care for the hawk. It is possible to achieve similar effects with oil heaters, or other methods. 

Windows on the nearly finished space. Note the vertical bars on the windows on the hawk's side, spaced such that the hawk cannot reach a foot through. Also note the predator fencing on the exterior, at a distance that the hawk cannot reach it under any circumstances, but absolutely preventing any mink or similar from accessing the mews. The shutters firmly close, allowing the falconer to control lighting conditions in the chambers near-absolutely, incredibly useful during manning and early training. 

Also, while there is pea gravel laid in here, the floor is concrete with a central drain in each chamber. As of this writing, it is also permissable to use galvanized mesh beneath the structure to prevent predators from tunneling into the chamber. 

The nearly-finished structure. Note that the glass windows are in the prep-room only, for light, and has vertical bars installed subsequently to prevent an escaped hawk from impacting on glass. Glass panes should never be used in any area a hawk might have access to, as the risk of injury is too great. 

Blueprints for this structure are available in the Downloads section of the Members Resources area.