Raptor trapping and banding at migration stations rely upon the use of live lure birds to attract hawks to the trapping area. The use of these lure animals may present raptor researchers with legislative, regulatory, ethical, and logistical challenges. We developed and tested a mechanical alternative to reduce the demands imposed by the use of live lures. The mechanical lure was able to withstand the rigors of field use and was as effective at attracting hawks to the trapping station as live lures during tests in the Marin Headlands, California, USA, 2001. Although resulting in significantly fewer captures, the use of a mechanical lure may be an appropriate alternative in situations where the regulatory and/or ethical environment prohibit the use of live lures and where the logistical demands of maintaining a captive colony of live lures is impractical. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.