Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Rob Kirkman's peregrine falcon

Falconry is not really a sport. Falconry is much more than that, it a way of life, a passion, an art or even a disease if you like. The technical definition is: the use of a trained raptor to persue wild game.

Falconry, practiced in various degrees, have roots back to not only the middle ages, but much further back than that. It is currently practiced in almost all the countries of the world. Many of these countries may only have one or two members practicing the sport, but falconry is very much alive. The sport has gained popularity in the United States in the last couple of decades, unlike Europe where it has thrived for many hundreds of years. Gone are the days where a procession of hundreds of nobleman (and women) would ride out on their horses to meet the morning flight of Herons. This procession would include not only the King, his Queen and all the noble blood of the kingdom, but also the king's falconers, horses, knaves and several falcons. Today, you are lucky if you run into a falconer flying his hawk or falcon during the evening's fading light.

Me with tercel Harris Hawk.

Why do we do it? The answer lies more with the "disease" definition of the art than anything else. It seems like once you try it, you can never leave! Sure there are people that put it down for a few years, but they almost always come back, some after many years. There is a certain feeling of accomplishment one feels after training (or being trained by) one of the symbols of the wild. Not only does falconry provide you with the ultimate thrill, but it also provides us with the ultimate mystery. Once a falconer has trained and flown his first hawk, he/she sometimes releases that bird back into the wild. This allowes two things. The first, is a bird that cheated the odds (70% of raptors die their first winter), and will more than likely contribute to the breeding pool. The second, is more of a human aspect. It allowes us to look up at a soaring hawk, and not being able to help ourselves, wonder if we wern't instrumental in THAT particular bird's life.

Falconry, at least to me, is the closest thing humans can come to raw nature. Even if you do not have the time or patience to practice the sport, make a point to see one of these birds up close. It will change the way you look at birds of prey forever. Their world is one of solitude, their habits and nature cruel, and their survival spectacular! Am I being overly romantic, some would say so, other's would claim I have not begun to scratch the surface. Falconry is not cruel, these birds kill, they do so not only for survival, but I truely believe some even like doing it! We are merely spectators in the cycle of life, sometimes we are even allowed to pick them up and take them back into our protective care *grin*. This is one reason we are drawn to them. Humans find their ruthless behavior very appealing, probably some deep primal urge within ourselves! They weed out the weak, feed on the old and the inexperienced, and yet, most of these predators die themselves! No, that is not cruel, it is merely nature in action.

Me with Gyr/Peregrine/Prairie Falcon.

I am currently flying a tribred Gyr/Peregrine/Prairie falcon......

My Mews and Pigeon loft

There are many wonderful sites that contain info on how to become a falconer, or just for interest sake, thus I will not go into the details of the sport. I will mention here, however, that falconry is VERY regulated. DO NOT attempt to practice the sport without the proper permits. I stress this fact because we have a good image, we do not need a few rogues to ruin that image. I am not saying it is impossible to become a falconer, but one has to put forth the effort.

Go to the sites provided by the webring, they are very thourough in explaining the procedure. I hope this will point all interested parties in the right direction. If you can't find what you want, feel free to contact me and I will try to put you in touch with the right person(s).

* These are thumb-nail pictures for fast loading

This Falconry site is owned by
C.J. van der Merwe.

Want to join the Falconry Web Ring?
[Skip Prev] [Prev] [Next] [Skip Next] [Random] [Next 5] [List Sites]

Email: Hawkie