Saturday, January 15, 2011

Falconry Meet

Today I had the privilege of attending a local falconry meet. A long time fascination with the sport but had never had the opportunity of getting out in the woods with the birds to watch them hunt. All I can say is WOW! What a unique experience. All the members of the guild present that were flying birds were very gracious and patient in indulging observers in many questions and shared a wealth of knowledge and experience with us.

All the handlers seemed to care deeply about the birds and their welfare. The birds seemed to have enjoyed the hunt as well as the participants.

It was a great day weather wise. The bitter cold had eased off and while still cool (but is is winter), felt good as you were running through the woods.

There were people of all ages and several types of birds. Red-tailed hawks, a Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, 2 Kestrels and several Harris Hawks. What a treat to see them up close. I think I enjoyed the Harris Hawks the most. One gentleman flew his solo first. It was a young hawk and still in training but did pretty well.

We had just come back up out of the woods and were getting ready to depart for lunch when a rabbit was spotted. The hawks were just flying about waiting to be loaded up when one of the falconers decided to let his hawks attempt to make the catch. It was not but a split second before the deed was done. The hawk absolutely did want to let go of the catch.
After lunch, we went to another location. One of the gentleman flew his Red-tailed hawk first. After it made a catch, he took it back and brought out his two Harris Hawks. Another gentleman also had two and what a thrill to see all four hunting together. It was amazing to watch how they worked together as a team to make a catch.
Would love to go back tomorrow but since rain is coming in Monday, I need to spend some
one on one time with Ali and take her for a long walk in the woods and give her the opportunity for some full out run time.

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