It’s not every day that you’ll find someone taking up falconry as a hobby. It takes a special kind of dedication and passion to care for the mighty flying beasts of the animal kingdom.
If you’re thinking of joining the elite falconry club but you don’t know where to begin, this guide offers all the necessary ins and outs to help you get started. Incase you want to get further into it, check out our article on the top falconry books.
What Is Falconry?
Falcons are birds of prey, meaning they primarily track down other animals to hunt and feed on them. Falconry is the activity of capturing, raising, training and keeping these raptors to be used in hunting.
This means you’ll pretty much harness their skills of sharp eyesight, incredible speed, and raw power while forming a deep connection in the process.
Typically, a falconer can capture these birds by setting harmless traps out in the wilderness. It’s a rather rewarding experience that you won’t regret investing time and effort in.
Alternatively, you can purchase your falcon from registered breeders. Many sellers often breed special hybrid falcons that don’t normally exist in nature.
Once you get your hands on the desired bird, you’ll begin to implement proper training techniques according to the species type. The bird is coached obedience and hunting, then after a while, you’ll be able to ‘fly’ your falcon and play all sorts of hunting games.
Some people overlook the hunting aspect of falconry, but that’s generally frowned upon since denying these raptors of their instincts while in captivity is considered a cruel act.
Falconry Through The Years
Falconry is an ancient sport, dating back thousands of years, suspected to be as old as 6000 BC. Throughout history, birds of prey have been mentioned, documented, and even idolized across cultures of the Middle East, before making their way into Western civilization.
According to documented Iranian history, King Tahmooreth of the Pishdadian dynasty was the first to use birds of prey 2000 years before Zoroaster, an Iranian leader who lived around 6000 BC himself.
In Mongolia, falconry was practiced around 3000 years ago, that’s 1000 BC. It was mainly during military campaigns when soldiers used these birds to hunt food and stay entertained between battles. As the sport continued to flourish, the number of falconers and falconry workers went well over 10000.
Due to the wide popularity of falconry in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf nowadays, it comes as no surprise that the roots of this sport date back to 3500 years BC in the Al Rafidain region. King Al Harith bin Mu’awyia, who ruled several regions including Saudi Arabia, was one of the first people to train falcons.
Of course, we can’t forget about the significant role falcons played in ancient Egypt. You’ve probably seen pictures of the falcon-headed man, Horus, who was worshiped as the god of kingship and the sky, from the late prehistoric Egyptian era up until the Romans appeared.
These cultures are only a few of the many civilizations that idolized these magnificent birds. Others include Turkey, Russia, Japan, Korea, and China.
Common Types Of Falcons
Before you dive into the falconry life, you first need to know the type of bird you’ll be owning. Every species has some unique qualities that, in turn, call for certain techniques to train. Here, you can see 4 falcon breeds, varying in the level of experience required in handling them.
Red Tail Hawk
The Red Tail Hawk is one of the most popular bird in falconry, particularly among beginners. They’re easy to care for, but they do take some time to warm up to you.
They’re quite intelligent, with a bit of a reputation to hoard the catch till they trust you’re not stealing from them.
A Harris Hawk is another great bird for novice falconers. It’s a smart raptor, known for quick learning as well as being highly social and trainable.
The size of a Harris Hawk is somewhere in the middle between a Red Tail Hawk and a Peregrine Falcon.
Not only is the Peregrine Falcon the fastest bird in the world, but it’s also the fastest animal on earth, reaching over 200 mph.
Peregrine Falcons are very sought after, but they require an advanced level of experience to handle and train, usually on a lure.
This one is for the veterans out there, and one day, you’ll be able to have a taste of befriending such a majestic beast.
The Golden Eagle demands the utmost attention, dedication, and respect. They’re world-class hunters, with outstanding agility, speed, and power.
The Golden Eagle is the largest on our list, taking the longest time to train.
Getting Started – What You Need
Here’s a list of what you should consider and understand before starting your falconry adventure.
License And Training
Right off the bat, you must confirm that falconry is legalized where you live. Depending where you live you should refer to your local governments falconry regulations for required conditions.
If you can’t find any regulations or rules regarding falconry in your area, the sport may be illegal.
Generally, to obtain a falconry beginner level license, you’ll have to take a written test and pass with at least an 80% score. There are two higher levels of permits: general and master, whose holders are typically allowed to select raptors from a wider variety.
If you’re a newly licensed falconer, your next step should be finding an expert falconer to teach you all about the methods and ethics of the sport. You’ll also learn hands-on handling of a falcon.
The “house” of a falcon is called a mew, which is kind of an enclosed wooden shed. It’s different from conventional pet homes in regards to its large size, close to a standard bedroom, required to provide the bird with enough space.
You should also keep in mind the general climate in your area and whether it’s appropriate for keeping a falcon or not. Mews should be built under the regulations of falconry laws as well as local and national specifications.
It should be obvious how crucial land access is when it comes to a bird of prey. Falcons require wide scapes to fly and exercise, you just can’t restrain your raptor in the backyard, expecting it to remain healthy without even stretching its wings long enough.
Basic Veterinary Knowledge
Indeed you need to do your homework when it comes to falconry. Caring for a raptor isn’t something you can “wing” or figure out without proper research.
You’ll have to learn basic concepts of falcon anatomy, diseases, and signs of sickness. You should also be knowledgeable about what procedures to follow in case your bird isn’t healthy.
Commitment – As we previously established, falconry isn’t an “on and off” hobby, but rather a lifestyle commitment and adaptation. You need to be prepared for the amount of time and effort that goes into falconry.
It’s a long-term investment deal, with lots of training on your part before you can own one of the flying beasts. You can’t take a “break” from falconry, it doesn’t work like that. Your bird requires consistent care and attention.
However, if you’re passionate about the sport, you should be more than up for the challenge, knowing that you’re in for one of the most exciting, unique, and rewarding experiences you can ask for.
We sincerely hope our falconry guide was able to provide you with useful insights into the dignified practice of falconry, and hopefully, give you the needed nudge to start your very own falconry adventure.
Similar Hobbies You Might Like:
Bird Watching Guide
The post Falconry Guide For Beginners appeared first on Indoored.