Falconry: falĚconĚry Pronunciation: 'fal-k&n-rE.
1: the art of training hawks to hunt in cooperation with a person
2 : the sport of hunting with hawks
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My name is Roy Priest. I live in Cloverdale, beautiful British Columbia, Canada.
I was introduced to falconry through a Sportsman's Show in 1963. George Galicz, a well known local falconer, was exhibiting his birds of prey. I was mesmerized by the beautiful male Kestrel he had on display. George let me hold it on my bare hand and I was hooked. In order to be able to have a bird like that he told me I had to join the B.C. Falconry Association and get permission from my parents. They were used to me bringing all manner of animals home and readily agreed.
The first bird I trained was a Red-tailed Hawk. That particular bird was probably the tamest bird I ever had. We were inseparable. Since that time I have flown Kestrels, Red tails, Peregrines, Prairies, Merlins, Luggers, Coopers, Harris and Goshawks in B.C., Lanners in England and Merlins and Prairies in Saskatchewan.
While in Saskatchewan I assisted in the release of Peregrines in Downtown Regina. There had been successful releases in Saskatoon and this was to be Regina's first. I acted as a hack attendant, feeding and tracking the birds for about 2 months.
INTRODUCTION TO FALCONRY
A lot of my email is from prospective falconers from around the world. How do I get started?, and can you direct me to falconers in my area? are the most common questions. Unfortunately all countries, states and provinces have their own laws and restrictions. The best advice I can give is to contact your local Fish and Wildlife, or similar agency, in your area. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Some fairs, especially in the UK, and sportsmen's shows often have falconry displays. The local raptor rehab center or wildlife rehab center may have information on local falconers.
If you reside in the U.S.A. you will have to take a federal falconry exam. You then have to find a sponsor (a falconer that will assist and guide you). You should contact your local game and fish department and ask for their falconry packet.
Once you have located some falconers, ask if you can tag along on a hunt or training session. Ask questions and take the advice to heart. Most falconers welcome informed and enthusiastic helpers. Don't be surprised if you are asked to beat brush or help in finding and flushing the quarry. Don't walk on the left side of the falconer, approach the bird on the lure or quarry, and don't offer advice on how to conduct the hunt . After several sessions in the field and talking to various falconers you will then be in a better position to evaluate your situation and decide if falconry is right for you. Remember, the pinnacle of falconry is hunting with your bird. If you can't or don't agree with this, then opt out of becoming a falconer.
Falconry is game hawking. You are not a falconer if you are not hunting with your bird. If you don't hunt, then you keep pet hawks and falcons. Take a look around you and get a bird that fits your locale. Match the bird with the quarry available. If you have suitable quarry and can hunt on a regular basis you will be able to fly your bird at the highest weight possible. Your bird will be able to focus on the quarry and not you and the feed bag. Remember, you don't have to fly a large longwing to be considered a competent falconer.á
I have created a mail list for falconers called Canadian Falconry. All falconers are welcome and we have falconers from around the world on the list.
Due to demand I have also created a mail list for serious longwingers called appropriately enough Longwingers. This is not a beginners list and subscriptions are vetted by myself.