And Falconry is What You Don’t Think It Is
(Intro to Falconry 2 of 4)
My own personal definition of falconry:
The sport of trapping a wild bird of prey, manning, training to the fist, entering on game and hunting with your raptor using their natural God-given instincts and releasing back to the wild.
Here are some cavorts to my definition, but I feel that it still the purest definition of falconry.
- You aren’t required to trap a bird at later stages of falconry, you can buy a raptor from a breeder. If the species you would like to fly, isn’t available for wild take, then finding a breeder for your choice of raptor will due, and nobody will deny you the title of falconer.
- You aren’t required to, and in some cases aren’t allowed to, release a raptor back to the wild. A bird that was bred in captivity didn’t come from the wild and therefore doesn’t belong back in the wild.
An imprinted bird, likely doesn’t have the skill of a wild raised bird and shouldn’t be released back to the wild. They may not be able to hunt for themselves even though they hunt fine with the falconer. The bird might also try to food beg with other random humans, attempting to land on them, probably scaring the humans and worse case, footing them.
- Finally, can you keep your raptor on your license as long as you feel, releasing it years later or until they pass on due to old age.
What Falconry is Not
Falconry is not pet-keeping. It is not a sport to be abused for the purpose of having a cool bird. This is generally frowned upon and often times not fair to the bird.*
Falconry is a hunting sport. It is dirty, gritty, bloody, painful, difficult, trying and rewarding. They say you will experience your highest highs and your lowest lows. This is true for me.
*What about Cosmos? Your Great Horned Owl doesn’t hunt. This is true, however not for a lack of trying. I wish I was a more skilled falconer / owlerer. Cosmos is trained to the fist, lure trained and has taken rats. At the end of the day, Cosmos is a well-trained owl pet. I love him and will continue to give him the best life he can live since he can’t be released back to the wild, since he is imprinted. He will continue to be an education bird as well.