Several days ago, a friend asked about what we do on the flight crew at the Raptor Center.
Our job is to ‘test fly’ hawks, owls and eagles after they have healed from their injuries to get them physically ready to be released back into the wild. Usually this consists of 2-3 trips outdoors per week with 8-9 flights per day. We tie strips of strong leather called jesses on both legs and connect them to a long (200-300 foot) cord or fishing line. We file notes after each session on how well the bird did with height, turns and distance. We also note any mechanical issues just as droopy wings or rough landings.
Here is a video my son Jeff shot several winters ago showing several test flights of a Bald Eagle in Como Park.