Also called braclets or cuffs
Anklets are simply a single piece of leather with a grommet to hold them on. But, I’ve added an extra piece. This idea came to me one day when I lost my bird. Due to a mistake by me, my bird took off. Normally this would have been OK, just call her back right? Well it was during the molt and she was pig fat. I eventually got her back, but it got me to thinking. Every now and again, I hear of someone finding a bird with jesses on. The bird somehow makes it to an animal shelter or rehab center and the long process of finding the owner begins. Meanwhile, the owners are frantically trying to locate their bird. The process of looking up the band number and locating the owner can take several weeks. Provided they even have a band on them. Some states do not require you band your wild caught red-tail. So, I got to thinking. What does the bird always have on? The anklets. So why not put your phone number right on the anklet? If you loose your bird, and it ends up in the animal shelter, they can contact you right away. Nuff said.
This anklet will fit a female red-tail.
2. Mark the center line for your stamping. Before you start stamping, wet the leather slightly. You want the leather damp, but not soggy. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes. When the leather looks dry, but is cold, it is ready to stamp. Make sure you use enough force when stamping to make a good deep impression. A few test strikes on some scrap is a good idea. Let it dry. You may want to dye the leather to make the numbers stand out more. Be sure to coat it with a leather sealer to waterproof it.
3. There are two ways to attach the leather plate to the anklet, glue alone or glue and sew it. I find the glue/sewing to be the most durable, but it is more work.
Glue – Place the plate on the anklet and trace out where it will go. Use fresh contact cement and apply it to both the anklet (only where the plate will go) and the plate and allow to dry. Then carefully position it and press it on. As you press it on, form the anklet into a bit of an arch.
Sewing – Sewing requires you to make stitching holes first (after it’s been glued on). Using an awl or a Dremel with a tiny drill bit, make the stitching holes all the way around and through both the plate and the anklet. Using a good leather thread, thread both ends with a needle and insert one needle through the plate and the anklet. Now it’s just a matter of sewing all the way around. Insert the needles from both sides into the same hole shown here. Pull each stitch snug against the leather. When you go all the way around, pull each needle through just one thickness of leather. You now have the thread between the leather pieces. Tie a good strong knot and tighten it so it ends up between the leather pieces. This way you don’t have any knot showing.
A bewit is a temporary strip of leather to hold the bells, telemetry and reward tag on your birds leg. Use a very soft, thin leather like kangaroo for this.
5. Thread onto the bewit, the bell pad, a reward tag, if you have one, the bell and the other end of the bell pad. The bewit is attached as shown here.
The end is threaded through the slit near the button, then over the button.
A Better Bewit
I was out flying my bird one season. All was well, when I noticed when my bird flew past me, it was very quiet. I walked over to where she landed and noticed she had lost not just one of her bewits, but both of them. I lost in that fiasco, a beautiful set of bells, a reward tag and a telemetry transmitter. I never did find that darn transmitter. With that, I decided to design a better bewit and this is what I’ve come up with. I have never lost one since.
You will need shoelace grommets also called eyelet grommets. Amazon carries these, you might also find them at a good fabric store. These grommets are a very small one piece grommet. You will also need the grommet setter. The whole kit is only around $5 – $8.
You also need rivets. These are the two part rivets that are used in leather work. Tandy Leather has them.
The diagram above shows the two parts you will need. You can use any leather you like. Kangaroo works great for the smaller piece. I don’t have any dimensions for the smaller piece because it will depend on the size of the larger piece and the size of your bells and or telemetry.
Punch small holes on each end of the larger piece and set the shoelace grommets in them.
Align the smaller piece with the bewit and punch a hole through both pieces at the end of the smaller insert. Set a rivet at one end of the insert. Thread your bell, reward tag and/or telemetry and set the second rivet at the other end.
These are easily attached to your birds leg by using a small cable zip tie. Simply cut the cable tie at the end of the day.