Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Learning the Art of Falconry... The Sport of Kings!

Learning the Art of Falconry... The Sport of Kings
 
Over the weekend I decided to learn the art of Falconry. The art of flying trained birds of prey after wild quarry is alive and well in the United States. I arrived at the Falconry & Raptor Education Foundation for a very interesting lesson all about the history behind this sport of kings, which has been performed for over 4,000 years. I was also able to interact with the trained hawks, falcons, eagles and owls. I gained a new appreciation for the bird's inherent abilities and the nature of predation during my visit and had an amazing time doing it.
 
This is Cody, a West Virginia Licensed Falconer since 2001. Cody owns a farm in the area and has been around animals a lot. When he had the chance to become a falconer he jumped at the change. 
These three gals are Harris Hawks. Harris Hawks are medium/large birds of prey from the Southwestern United States. Since about 1980, Harris's Hawks have been increasingly used in falconry and are now the most popular hawks in the West (outside of Asia) for that purpose, as they are one of the easiest to train and the most social. While most raptors are solitary, only coming together for breeding and migration, Harris's Hawks will hunt in cooperative groups of two to six.
 
This is one of the Falcons they use at the Academy. Unfortunately, I didn't get to interact with her, she was resting..
We took out one of the Harris Hawks for the day, this is Jack, he is a badass!!  
 
  
Jack followed us from tree to tree, waiting and anticipating the flushing of game.

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