Falconry is, as defined, the sport of taking quarry in its natural state and habitat using a trained bird of prey. Falconry is not pet keeping, and should not be treated, or thought of, as such. Falconry is one of the oldest traditions alive, and is also one of the most regulated. Without regulations, the requirement and need to hunt with your bird, Falconry would just be pet-keeping.
Falconry is a one-on-one relationship based on trust. We are not keeping these creatures against their will; they are free to leave at many time- and sometimes they will. In accordance with regulations, raptors are only allowed to be kept in very large enclosures, and must be exercised every day and hunted with at least once a week- much more during hunting season. Not only are the housing facilities for raptors required to be much, much larger than the birds themselves, there are also many other rules about the enclosures in regards to things such as weather protection, privacy fort he bird, protection from predators, space to exercise etc.
Falconers must also take a difficult test to make sure they are knowledgeable in all aspects of care, and they even have to study a Master or General falconer for two years before obtaining their own license. Thanks to these regulations raptors stay safe and there is no harm to their population. In fact, Falconers are extremely invaluable when it comes to the protections of raptors. Falconers birds live, on average, 80% longer than ones in the wild subjected to starvation and the elements. And because falconers only hunt the correct quarry during the correct season, the prey are also protected by these hunters.