Category Archive 'Falconry'
02 Feb 2017

The Salukis Rode in First-Class

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Saudi prince bought tickets for 80 falcons, the Telegraph reports:

Posted to Reddit, a photo of the rather bizarre occurrence shows dozens of the birds, each in its own seat in the central rows of the aircraft. Men in traditional Saudi headdresses occupy any seat not taken by a bird.

“My captain friend sent me this photo. Saudi prince bought ticket for his 80 hawks,” the user wrote. It is not clear which airline the hawks are flying with.

While this might seem unfathomable, it is not entirely unheard of when flying to or from the Middle East, where falconry is a popular pastime of the wealthy.

Indeed airlines such as Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates each allow falcons – of which hawks are close relations – in the cabin.

Qatar allows a maximum of six birds, but says they are welcome in the cabin. A note on Etihad’s website says: “We accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained.”

Emirates says: “Animals are not permitted in the cabin of Emirates flights, with the exception of falcons between Dubai and certain destinations in Pakistan, and Guide Dogs for the Blind.”

Lufthansa, the German airline, also made it clear in 2014 it welcomed the birds of prey in the cabin, installing a “Falcon Master” tray for “maximum hygienic protection of the cabin walls, seats and carpets from soiling by the birds”.

IAG, the owner of British Airways, among others, says it transports animals “of all shapes and sizes” but makes no specific mention of hawks or the like. Nor does the British low-cost airline Easyjet, or Irish carrier Ryanair.

In 2013, Gulf News reported that more than 28,000 falcons had been issued with passports since 2002 in a bid to combat the illegal trade of the birds in the region.

Though it is fairly rare for an animal to make an appearance in an aircraft cabin, in May last year it briefly became a common sight when Canadian airlines waived the restrictions on pets in the cabin to allow those evacuating forest fire-hit Fort McMurray to fly with their canine and feline companions.

03 Aug 2016

Hunting With Eagles in the Altai Mountains

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MongolianwEagle

Hong-Kong based photojournalist Palani Mohan recently delivered a TED Talk in Sydney describing his personal project photographing the last surviving Eagle Hunters in the Altai Mountains in Western Mongolia.

His photographs were featured in Mother Jones last December.

05 Dec 2015

Hunting Wolves with Eagles in Central Asia

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12 Oct 2015

Juan José Arreola on Falconry

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Cetreria


“He pasado mi vida entre las nubes y amo todavía las criaturas que se defienden y huyen. (Guardo en la memoria el fantasma de una paloma inalcanzable que palpita para mí.) Hacia ella sigo volando, cada vez con menos brío. De noche, cavilo entre la rapiña y la ternura en un paisaje de rocas vacías.”

“I have spent my life in the clouds and still love the creatures who defend themselves and flee. (I keep in memory the ghost of an unattainable dove that beats for me.) To keep it flying, each time with less verve. At night, I brood between the violence and tenderness in a landscape of empty rocks.”

—Juan José Arreola, “De cetrería” [On Falconry], en Bestiario [Bestiary], Joaquín Mortiz, México, 1972, p. 57.

16 Apr 2014

13-Year-Old Girl Hunts With an Eagle

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GirlwithEagle
13 Year-Old Ashol-Pan with friend

The BBC did a recent feature of a 13-Year-Old Kazakh girl who is carrying on an unusual form of traditional hunting.

Most children, Asher Svidensky says, are a little intimidated by golden eagles. Kazakh boys in western Mongolia start learning how to use the huge birds to hunt for foxes and hares at the age of 13, when the eagles sit heavily on their undeveloped arms. Svidensky, a photographer and travel writer, shot five boys learning the skill – and he also photographed Ashol-Pan.

“To see her with the eagle was amazing,” he recalls. She was a lot more comfortable with it, a lot more powerful with it and a lot more at ease with it.”

The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practising falconers. Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country’s only apprentice huntress.

They hunt in winter, when the temperatures can drop to -40C (-40F). A hunt begins with days of trekking on horseback through snow to a mountain or ridge giving an excellent view of prey for miles around. Hunters generally work in teams. After a fox is spotted, riders charge towards it to flush it into the open, and an eagle is released. If the eagle fails to make a kill, another is released.

The skill of hunting with eagles, Svidensky says, lies in harnessing an unpredictable force of nature. “You don’t really control the eagle. You can try and make her hunt an animal – and then it’s a matter of nature. What will the eagle do? Will she make it? How will you get her back afterwards?”

07 Mar 2014

Goshawk Versus Water Balloon

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In slow motion. io9 protests: Damn you, hawk, and your terrifying dinosaur hands! What did that poor water balloon ever do to you?!

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 Sep 2013

Harry Potter Wedding Fail

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Darcy looks down.

The Telegraph reports on problems with delivery via owl.

[A] bride’s secret plan for a barn owl to swoop to the altar with the wedding rings attached to tassels on its feet went awry when the bird had other ideas and fell asleep.

The ceremony had to be put on hold when the owl, called Darcy, took to the rafters of the 900-year-old church that was hosting the ceremony and stayed there.

It remained perched high above the guests’ heads at the Holy Cross Church in Sherston, Wilts, for an hour, during which time it dozed off.

After repeated failed attempts to coax it down, Rev Chris Bryan decided to continue the ceremony using a back-up set of rings.

He said: “It would have been absolutely superb if it worked. It was a lovely idea and it was supposed to be really stunning.

“It was a complete surprise to the groom, although the bride was in on it. It was the bride’s mother’s idea.

“The groom is into falconry as a bit of a hobby and so it was secretly arranged for two falconers to suddenly appear at the moment when the best man hands over the rings.

“This chap popped up at the front of the church next to us with a gauntlet on, as another chap appeared at the back of the church with a box.

“The owl appeared, and took a bit of coaxing to take to flight.

“It paused for a little bit, eventually saw the gauntlet, and then took off.

“But instead of landing on the arm of the man by us and delivering the rings it went up over our heads and landed up in the roof space.”

“The idea was it would be amazing and would swoop over the heads of the guests, and they’d all feel the air rushing from its wings, but it didn’t quite work like that.”

The couple and their guests were able to see the funny side, however, and there was a plan B in place, he added.

“They say never work with animals, so we had a back-up pair of rings,” Rev Bryan said.

“After a few minutes, we gave up trying to get it down and carried on. It was actually rather nice when we went up for prayers and the owl was right above us.”

The couple, from Oxfordshire, had left the church by the time Darcy was finally brought back down, with the aid of a long ladder.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

23 Jun 2013

How to Amuse Your Falcon

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Birdcam view:

From Steve Bodio via Karen L. Myers.

18 Dec 2012

Falconry Season in Qatar

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In Qatar, you can buy falcons at a shop in the mall.

Condé Nast Traveller has an interesting photo essay illustrating the centrality of the sport of falconry to Arab culture in Qatar.

In the US, falconry is so buried under a preposterous and massively burdensome regulatory regime that only an infinitesimally small community of total fanatics can participate. (There are something like 4000 licensed falconers out of an American population of 300 million.) In the United States, you can go right out there and buy a horse any time you like and take him home, but not a falcon. Unlike horses, you see, raptors are sacred and they all really belong to our federal government and various international conservancy committees. You must have special permission at both the state and federal level to borrow one of their birds. You are required to take a federal exam, sign up for a multi-year apprenticeship under a licensed falconer, and open your home to federal inspection to even possess your first hawk, and your choice of falcon is restricted to only 2 (in some regions, 3) species until you achieve a more advanced license level.

Can you imagine a dog ownership regime that would require federal licensing and then would allow you only to own a chihuahua or a Golden Retriever until you had been a licensed dog for two years? Then you become a “general dog owner” and can own two dogs at the same time, including such more interesting breeds as poodles, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. You would need to be licensed for five years before you could be a “master dog owner” and own three dogs at the same time or be permitted to possess the more exotic and desirable salukis, borzois, and Akitas.

It’s different in Arab countries, where falconry is a far more prominent and mainstream sporting activity.

Hat tip to Sari Mantila.

28 Dec 2011

Falconry, Large-Scale

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Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) attempting to detain roe deer (Capreolus capreolus).

Falconer Steve Bodio has traveled to Kazakhstan in order to witness Central Asian falconers using Golden Eagles to take deer.

Next time, Steve won’t have to travel so far. The Daily Mail recently reported on hunting with Golden Eagles in Slovakia.

0:12 video

14 Oct 2011

Hunting Party

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A nice car interior shot from Rodger the Real King of France via Vanderleun.

06 Mar 2011

Cool

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According to Steve Bodio:

Look at it this way: that eagle he’s carrying weighs over 20 lbs.

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