Falconry

Falconry

Overview

Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

; an austringer (German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 origin) flies a hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

 (Accipiter
Accipiter
The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

 and some buteo
Buteo
Buteo is a genus of medium to fairly large, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings. In the Old World, members of this genus are called "buzzards", but "hawk" is used in North America...

s and similar) or an eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

 (Aquila
Aquila (genus)
Aquila is the genus of true eagles. It is often united with the buteos, sea eagles and other more heavyset Accipitridae, but more recently it appears as if they are less distinct from the more slender accipitrine hawks than believed...

 or similar). In modern falconry the Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

 (Buteo jamaicensis) and the Harris hawk are often used.
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Encyclopedia

Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

; an austringer (German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 origin) flies a hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

 (Accipiter
Accipiter
The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

 and some buteo
Buteo
Buteo is a genus of medium to fairly large, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings. In the Old World, members of this genus are called "buzzards", but "hawk" is used in North America...

s and similar) or an eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

 (Aquila
Aquila (genus)
Aquila is the genus of true eagles. It is often united with the buteos, sea eagles and other more heavyset Accipitridae, but more recently it appears as if they are less distinct from the more slender accipitrine hawks than believed...

 or similar). In modern falconry the Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

 (Buteo jamaicensis) and the Harris hawk are often used. The words "hawking" and "hawker
Peddler
A peddler, in British English pedlar, also known as a canvasser, cheapjack, monger, or solicitor , is a travelling vendor of goods. In England, the term was mostly used for travellers hawking goods in the countryside to small towns and villages; they might also be called tinkers or gypsies...

" have become used so much to mean petty traveling traders, that the terms "falconer" and "falconry" now apply to all use of trained birds of prey to catch game. In early English falconry literature, the word "falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

" referred to a female falcon only, while the word "hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

" or "hawke" referred to a female hawk. A male hawk or falcon was referred to as a "tiercel" (sometimes spelled "tercel") as it was roughly one third less than the female in size. Many contemporary practitioners still use these words in their original meaning. The practice of hunting a trained falconry bird is also called "hawking" or "gamehawking".

History




Evidence suggests that the art of falconry may have begun in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, or in Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, with the earliest accounts dating to approximately 2000 BC. Falcon was a symbolic bird of ancient Mongol tribes. There is some disagreement about whether such early accounts document the practice of falconry (from The Epic of Gilgamesh and others) or are misinterpreted depictions of humans with birds of prey. Falconry was probably introduced to Europe around AD 400, when the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 and Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 invaded from the East. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1194–1250) is generally acknowledged as the most significant wellspring of traditional falconry knowledge. He is believed to have obtained firsthand knowledge of Arabic falconry during wars in the region (between June 1228–June 1229). He obtained a copy of Moamyn's manual on falconry and had it translated into Latin by Theodore of Antioch. Frederick II himself made corrections to the translation in 1241 resulting in De Scientia Venandi per Aves. King Frederick II is most recognized for his falconry treatise, De arte venandi cum avibus
De arte venandi cum avibus
De Arte Venandi cum Avibus, literally "The Art of Hunting with Birds", is a Latin treatise on ornithology and Falconry written in the 1240s by Frederick II, and dedicated to his son Manfred....

 ("The Art of Hunting with Birds"). Written himself toward the end of his life, it is widely accepted as the first comprehensive book of falconry, but also notable in its contributions to ornithology
Ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

 and zoology
Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

. De arte venandi cum avibus
De arte venandi cum avibus
De Arte Venandi cum Avibus, literally "The Art of Hunting with Birds", is a Latin treatise on ornithology and Falconry written in the 1240s by Frederick II, and dedicated to his son Manfred....

 incorporated a diversity of scholarly traditions from east to west, and is one of the earliest and most significant challenges to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's often flawed explanations of nature.

Historically, falconry was a popular sport and status symbol among the nobles
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 of medieval Europe, the Middle East, and Mongolian Empire. Many historical illustrations left in Rashid al Din's "Compendium chronicles" book described middle centure's falconry with Mongol images. Falconry was largely restricted to the noble classes due to the prerequisite commitment of time, money, and space. In art and in other aspects of culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 such as literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, falconry remained a status symbol
Status symbol
A status symbol is a perceived visible, external denotation of one's social position and perceived indicator of economic or social status. Many luxury goods are often considered status symbols...

 long after it was no longer popularly practiced. The historical significance of falconry within lower social classes may be underrepresented in the archaeological record
Archaeological record
The archaeological record is the body of physical evidence about the past. It is one of the most basic concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the archaeological record....

, due to a lack of surviving evidence, especially from Altaic nomads and non-agrarian societies. Within nomadic societies like the Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

, falconry was not practiced for recreation by noblemen. Instead, falcons were trapped and hunted on small game during the winter months in order to supplement a very limited diet.

In the UK and parts of Europe, falconry probably reached its zenith in the 17th century, but soon faded, particularly in the late 18th and 19th centuries, as firearms became the tool of choice for hunting (this likely took place throughout Europe and Asia in differing degrees). Falconry in the UK had a resurgence in the late 19th, early 20th century during which time a number of falconry books were published. This revival led to the introduction of falconry in North America in the early 1900s. Col R. Luff Meredith is recognized as the father of North American falconry.

Throughout the 20th century, modern veterinary practices and the advent of radio telemetry (transmitter
Transmitter
In electronics and telecommunications a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which, with the aid of an antenna, produces radio waves. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating...

s attached to free-flying birds) increased the average lifespan of falconry birds and allowed falconers to pursue quarry and styles of flight that had previously resulted in the loss of their hawk or falcon.

Timeline

  • 722-705 BC - An Assyria
    Assyria
    Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

    n bas-relief found in the ruins at Khorsabad during the excavation of the palace of Sargon II
    Sargon II
    Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

     (Sargon II) has been claimed to depict falconry. In fact, it depicts an archer shooting at raptors and an attendant capturing a raptor. A. H. Layard's statement in his 1853 book Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh
    Nineveh
    Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

     and Babylon
    Babylon
    Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

     is "A falconer bearing a hawk on his wrist appeared to be represented in a bas-relief which I saw on my last visit to those ruins."
  • 680 BC - Chinese records describe falconry. E. W. Jameson suggests that evidence of falconry in Japan surfaces.
  • 355 AD - Nihon-shoki, a largely mythical narrative, records hawking first arriving in Japan as of the 16th emperor Nintoku from Baekje
    Baekje
    Baekje or Paekche was a kingdom located in southwest Korea. It was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo and Silla....

    , one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea
    Three Kingdoms of Korea
    The Three Kingdoms of Korea refer to the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium...

    .
  • 2nd-4th century - the Germanic
    Germanic peoples
    The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

     tribe of the Goths
    Goths
    The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

     learned falconry from the Sarmatians
    Sarmatians
    The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

     .
  • 5th century - the son of Avitus
    Avitus
    Eparchius Avitus was Western Roman Emperor from July 8 or July 9, 455 to October 17, 456. A Gallic-Roman aristocrat, he was a senator and a high-ranking officer both in the civil and military administration, as well as Bishop of Piacenza.A representative of the Gallic-Roman aristocracy, he...

    , Roman Emperor 455-456, from the Celtic tribe of the Arverni
    Arverni
    The Arverni were a Gallic tribe living in what is now the Auvergne region of France during the last centuries BC. One of the most powerful tribes in ancient Gaul, they opposed the Romans on several occasions...

     who fought at the Battle of Chalons
    Battle of Chalons
    The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains , also called the Battle of Châlons sur Marne, took place in AD 451 between a coalition led by the Visigothic king Theodoric I and the Roman general Flavius Aëtius, against the Huns and their allies commanded by their leader Attila...

     with the Goths
    Goths
    The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

     against the Huns
    Huns
    The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

     introduced falconry in Rome.
  • 500 - a Roman floor mosaic depicts a falconer and his hawk hunting duck
    Duck
    Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered...

    s.
  • 8th and 9th century and continuing today - Falconry flourished in the Middle East
    Middle East
    The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

    .
  • 818 - The Japanese Emperor Saga
    Emperor Saga
    was the 52nd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Saga's reign spanned the years from 809 through 823.-Traditional narrative:...

     ordered someone to edit a falconry text named "Shinshuu Youkyou".
  • 875 - Western Europe and Saxon
    Anglo-Saxons
    Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

     England practiced falconry widely.
  • 991 - The Battle of Maldon
    Battle of Maldon
    The Battle of Maldon took place on 10 August 991 near Maldon beside the River Blackwater in Essex, England, during the reign of Aethelred the Unready. Earl Byrhtnoth and his thegns led the English against a Viking invasion. The battle ended in an Anglo-Saxon defeat...

    . A poem describing it
    The Battle of Maldon
    The Battle of Maldon is the name given to an Old English poem of uncertain date celebrating the real Battle of Maldon of 991, at which the Anglo-Saxons failed to prevent a Viking invasion...

     says that before the battle, the Anglo-Saxons' leader Byrhtnoth
    Byrhtnoth
    Byrhtnoth was a 10th century Ealdorman of Essex. His name is composed of Old English beorht and noth ....

     "let his tame hawk fly from his hand to the wood".
  • c.1240s - The treatise of an Arab
    Arab
    Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

     falconer, Moamyn, was translated into Latin by Master Theodore of Antioch, at the court of Frederick II, it was called De Scientia Venandi per Aves and much copied.
  • 1250 - Frederick II wrote in the last years of his life a treatise on "The Art of Hunting with Birds": De arte venandi cum avibus
    De arte venandi cum avibus
    De Arte Venandi cum Avibus, literally "The Art of Hunting with Birds", is a Latin treatise on ornithology and Falconry written in the 1240s by Frederick II, and dedicated to his son Manfred....

    .
  • 1390s - In his Libro de la caza de las aves, Castilian
    Castile (historical region)
    A former kingdom, Castile gradually merged with its neighbours to become the Crown of Castile and later the Kingdom of Spain when united with the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre...

     poet and chronicler Pero López de Ayala
    Pero López de Ayala
    Don Pero López de Ayala was a Castilian statesman, historian, poet, chronicler, chancellor, and courtier. Ayala were one of the major aristocratic families of Castile; they were later claimed to be of the Jewish converso descent, but Pero's own father composed a genealogy tracing the family from...

     attempts to compile all the available correct knowledge concerning falconry.
  • 1486 -See the Boke of Saint Albans
  • early 16th century - Japanese warlord Asakura Norikage
    Asakura Norikage
    , also known as Asakura Sōteki , was the eighth son of Asakura Toshikage and one of the prime entities of power, under headship, during the early Sengoku Period of Feudal Japan....

     (1476-1555) succeeded in captive breeding of goshawk
    Goshawk
    The Northern Goshawk , Accipiter gentilis, is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes other diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards and harriers....

    s.
  • 1600s - Dutch records of falconry; the Dutch town of Valkenswaard
    Valkenswaard
    Valkenswaard is a municipality and a town in the southern Netherlands, in the province of North Brabant. The municipality had 30,871 citizens and spans an area of 56,50 square kilometers ....

     was almost entirely dependent on falconry for its economy.
  • 1660s - Tsar Alexis of Russia writes a treatise which celebrates aesthetic pleasures derived from falconry.
  • 1801 - James Strutt of England writes, "the ladies not only accompanied the gentlemen in pursuit of the diversion [falconry], but often practiced it by themselves; and even excelled the men in knowledge and exercise of the art."
  • 1934 - The first US falconry club, The Peregrine Club, is formed; it died out during World War II
  • 1941 - Falconer's Club of America formed
  • 1961 - Falconer's Club of America defunct
  • 1961 - North American Falconers Association
    North American Falconers Association
    The North American Falconers Association is a falconry organization composed primarily of falconers.Founded in 1961 by Hal Webster, Frank Beebe and other prominent falconers of the time, NAFA is a not-for-profit private association formed to:*Provide communication among, and to disseminate...

     (NAFA) formed
  • 1970 - Peregrine Falcon
    Peregrine Falcon
    The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

     listed as an Endangered Species
    Endangered species
    An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

     in the U.S., due primarily to the use of DDT
    DDT
    DDT is one of the most well-known synthetic insecticides. It is a chemical with a long, unique, and controversial history....

     as a pesticide (35 Federal Register 8495; June 2, 1970).
  • 1970 - The Peregrine Fund is founded, mostly by falconers, to conserve raptors, and focusing on Peregrine
    Peregrine Falcon
    The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

    s.
  • 1972 - DDT banned in the U.S. (EPA press release - December 31, 1972) but continues to be used in Mexico and other nations.
  • 1999 - Peregrine falcon removed from the Endangered Species list in the United States, due to reports that at least 1,650 peregrine breeding pairs existed in the U.S. and Canada at that time. (64 Federal Register 46541-558, August 25, 1999)
  • 2003 - A population study by the USFWS shows peregrine falcon numbers climbing ever more rapidly, with well over 3000 pairs in North America
  • 2006 - A population study by the USFWS shows peregrine falcon numbers still climbing. (Federal Register circa September 2006)
  • 2008 - USFWS rewrites falconry regulations virtually eliminating federal involvement. {Federal Register: October 8, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 196)}

The Book of St Albans


The often-quoted Book of St Albans or Boke of St Albans, first printed in 1486, often attributed to Dame Julia Berners, provides this hierarchy of hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

s and the social ranks for which each bird was supposedly appropriate. The line numbers are not in the original.
  1. Emperor
    Emperor
    An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

    : The Eagle
    Eagle
    Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

    , Vulture
    Vulture
    Vulture is the name given to two groups of convergently evolved scavenging birds, the New World Vultures including the well-known Californian and Andean Condors, and the Old World Vultures including the birds which are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains...

    , and Merloun
    Merlin (bird)
    The Merlin is a small species of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere. A bird of prey once known colloquially as a pigeon hawk in North America, the Merlin breeds in the northern Holarctic; some migrate to subtropical and northern tropical regions in winter.-European and North American...

  2. King
    Monarch
    A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

    : The Ger Falcon
    Gyrfalcon
    The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

     and the Tercel of the Ger Falcon
    Gyrfalcon
    The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

  3. Prince
    Prince
    Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

    : The Falcon Gentle and the Tercel Gentle
  4. Duke
    Duke
    A duke or duchess is a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank below the monarch, and historically controlling a duchy...

    : The Falcon
    Falcon
    A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

     of the Loch
    Loch
    Loch is the Irish and Scottish Gaelic word for a lake or a sea inlet. It has been anglicised as lough, although this is pronounced the same way as loch. Some lochs could also be called a firth, fjord, estuary, strait or bay...

  5. Earl
    Earl
    An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

    : The Falcon Peregrine
    Peregrine Falcon
    The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

  6. Baron
    Baron
    Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

    : The Bustard
    Bustard
    Bustards, including floricans and korhaans, are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World...

  7. Knight
    Knight
    A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

    : The Sacre
    Saker Falcon
    The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

     and the Sacret
  8. Esquire
    Squire
    The English word squire is a shortened version of the word Esquire, from the Old French , itself derived from the Late Latin , in medieval or Old English a scutifer. The Classical Latin equivalent was , "arms bearer"...

    : The Lanere
    Lanner Falcon
    The Lanner Falcon is a large bird of prey that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and just into Asia. It is mainly resident, but some birds disperse more widely after the breeding season.-Description:...

     and the Laneret
  9. Lady
    Lady
    The word lady is a polite term for a woman, specifically the female equivalent to, or spouse of, a lord or gentleman, and in many contexts a term for any adult woman...

    : The Marlyon
    Merlin (bird)
    The Merlin is a small species of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere. A bird of prey once known colloquially as a pigeon hawk in North America, the Merlin breeds in the northern Holarctic; some migrate to subtropical and northern tropical regions in winter.-European and North American...

  10. Young Man: The Hobby
    Eurasian Hobby
    The Eurasian Hobby , or just simply Hobby, is a small slim falcon. It belongs to a rather close-knit group of similar falcons often considered a subgenus Hypotriorchis.-Description:...

  11. Yeoman
    Yeoman
    Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century. Work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work"...

    : The Goshawk
    Goshawk
    The Northern Goshawk , Accipiter gentilis, is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes other diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards and harriers....

  12. Poor Man: The Tercel
  13. Priest
    Priest
    A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

    : The Sparrowhawk
  14. Holy Water Clerk: The Musket
  15. Knave
    Knave
    Knave may refer to:* Knave , a British adult magazine*A male servant see also varlet*A journeyman*Another name for the Jack in a deck of cards*In knights and knaves logic puzzles, a person who always lies...

     or Servant: The Kestrel
    Common Kestrel
    The Common Kestrel is a bird of prey species belonging to the kestrel group of the falcon family Falconidae. It is also known as the European Kestrel, Eurasian Kestrel, or Old World Kestrel. In Britain, where no other brown falcon occurs, it is generally just called "the kestrel".This species...



This list, however, was mistaken in several respects.
  • 1) Vultures are not used for falconry.
  • 3) 4) 5) These are usually said to be different names for the Peregrine Falcon
    Peregrine Falcon
    The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

    . But there is an opinion that renders 4) as "rock falcon" = a peregrine from remote rocky areas, which would be bigger and stronger than other peregrines. This could also refer to the Scottish Peregrine.
  • 6) The bustard
    Bustard
    Bustards, including floricans and korhaans, are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World...

     is not a bird of prey
    Bird of prey
    Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

    , but a game
    Game (food)
    Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport.The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. This will be influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted view about what can or...

     species that was commonly hunted by falconers; this entry may have been a mistake for buzzard
    Buzzard
    A buzzard is one of several large birds, but there are a number of meanings as detailed below.-Old World:In the Old World Buzzard can mean:* One of several medium-sized, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings....

    , or for busard which is French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

     for "harrier
    Harrier (bird)
    A harrier is any of the several species of diurnal hawks forming the Circinae sub-family of the Accipitridae family of birds of prey. Harriers characteristically hunt by flying low over open ground, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, or birds....

    "; but any of these would be a poor deal for baron
    Baron
    Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

    s; some treat this entry as "bastard hawk", possibly meaning a hawk of unknown lineage, or a hawk that couldn't be identified.
  • 7) 8) Sakers were imported from abroad and very expensive, and ordinary knights and squires would be unlikely to have them. There are contemporary records of lanners
    Lanner Falcon
    The Lanner Falcon is a large bird of prey that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and just into Asia. It is mainly resident, but some birds disperse more widely after the breeding season.-Description:...

     native to England.
  • 10) 15) Hobbies and kestrels are historically considered to be of little use for serious falconry. (The French name for the Hobby is faucon hobereau, hobereau meaning local/country squire
    Squire
    The English word squire is a shortened version of the word Esquire, from the Old French , itself derived from the Late Latin , in medieval or Old English a scutifer. The Classical Latin equivalent was , "arms bearer"...

    . That may be the source of the confusion.), however King Edward I of England sent a falconer to catch hobbies for his use. Kestrels are coming into their own as worthy hunting birds, as modern falconers dedicate more time to their specific style of hunting. While not suitable for catching game for the falconer's table, kestrels are certainly capable of catching enough quarry that they can be fed on surplus kills through the molt.
  • 12) There is an opinion that, since the previous entry is the goshawk, this entry ("Ther is a Tercell. And that is for the powere [= poor] man.") means a male goshawk and that here "poor man" means not a labourer or beggar but someone at the bottom end of the scale of landowners.


It can be seen that the relevance of the "Boke" to practical falconry past or present is extremely tenuous, and veteran British falconer Phillip Glasier dismissed it as "merely a formalised and rather fanciful listing of birds".

Falconry in Britain in 1973


A book about falconry published in 1973 says this:
  • Most falconry birds used in Britain were taken from the wild, either in Britain, or abroad and imported.
  • Captive breeding was starting. It mentions a captive-bred goshawk and a brood of captive-bred redtail
    Red-tailed Hawk
    The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

    s. It describes as a new and remarkable event captive breeding hybrid young in 1971 and 1972 from John Morris's female saker
    Saker Falcon
    The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

     and Ronald Stevens's peregrine tiercel.
  • Peregrine falcon
    Peregrine Falcon
    The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

    s were suffering from the post-World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     severe decline caused by pesticide
    Pesticide
    Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

    s. Taking wild peregrines in Britain was only allowed to train them to keep birds off Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

     airfields to prevent birdstrikes.
  • It does not mention telemetry.
  • Harris hawks were known of but unusual. For example, the book lists a falconry meet on 4 days in August 1971 at White Hill and Leafield in Dumfriesshire
    Dumfriesshire
    Dumfriesshire or the County of Dumfries is a registration county of Scotland. The lieutenancy area of Dumfries has similar boundaries.Until 1975 it was a county. Its county town was Dumfries...

     in Scotland; the hawks flown were 11 goshawks and one Harris hawk, and the book felt it necessary to say what a Harris hawk is.
  • The usual species for a beginner to begin on was a kestrel
    Kestrel
    The name kestrel, is given to several different members of the falcon genus, Falco. Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height of around over open country and swoop down on prey, usually small mammals, lizards or large insects...

    .
  • A few falconers used golden eagle
    Golden Eagle
    The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

    s.

Birds used in contemporary falconry


There are several categories of raptor
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 that could possibly be used in falconry. They are also classed by falconers as:
  • Broadwings: Golden Eagle
    Golden Eagle
    The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

    s, Buzzard
    Buzzard
    A buzzard is one of several large birds, but there are a number of meanings as detailed below.-Old World:In the Old World Buzzard can mean:* One of several medium-sized, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings....

    s, Harris hawk.
  • Longwings: Peregrine Falcon
    Peregrine Falcon
    The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

    s, Lanner Falcon
    Lanner Falcon
    The Lanner Falcon is a large bird of prey that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and just into Asia. It is mainly resident, but some birds disperse more widely after the breeding season.-Description:...

    , Gyrfalcon
    Gyrfalcon
    The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

    .
  • Shortwings: Accipiter
    Accipiter
    The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

    s (goshawk
    Goshawk (disambiguation)
    -Bird species:* Species of birds of prey, mainly in the genus Accipiter:** Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis** Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus** Sulawesi Goshawk, Accipiter griseiceps** Red-chested Goshawk, Accipiter toussenelii...

    s).

Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)



Parabuteo unicinctus is the sole representative of this genus worldwide. Arguably the best rabbit or hare raptor available anywhere, the Harris' Hawk is also adept at catching birds. Often captive-bred, the Harris' Hawk is remarkably popular because of its temperament and ability. The Harris Hawk is found in the wild living in groups or packs and hunts cooperatively, with a social hierarchy similar to wolves. This highly social behavior is not observed in any other bird of prey species and is very adaptable to falconry. This genus is native to the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 from southern Texas and Arizona to northern South America.

Soaring hawks and the Common Buzzard (Buteo)


The genus Buteo
Buteo
Buteo is a genus of medium to fairly large, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings. In the Old World, members of this genus are called "buzzards", but "hawk" is used in North America...

, known as "hawks" in North America and not to be confused with vulture
Vulture
Vulture is the name given to two groups of convergently evolved scavenging birds, the New World Vultures including the well-known Californian and Andean Condors, and the Old World Vultures including the birds which are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains...

s, has worldwide distribution but is particularly well represented in North America. The Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

, Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
The Ferruginous Hawk , Buteo regalis , is a large bird of prey. It is not a true hawk like sparrowhawks or goshawks, but rather belongs to the broad-winged buteo hawks, known as "buzzards" in Europe...

, and rarely, the Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
The Red-shouldered Hawk is a medium-sized hawk. Its breeding range spans eastern North America and along the coast of California and northern to northeastern-central Mexico.-Description:...

 are all examples of species from this genus that are used in falconry today. The Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

 is hardy and versatile, taking rabbits, hares, and squirrels; given the right conditions it can catch geese, duck
Duck
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered...

s, pheasant
Pheasant
Pheasants refer to some members of the Phasianinae subfamily of Phasianidae in the order Galliformes.Pheasants are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism, males being highly ornate with bright colours and adornments such as wattles and long tails. Males are usually larger than females and have...

s, and even wild turkey
Wild Turkey
The Wild Turkey is native to North America and is the heaviest member of the Galliformes. It is the same species as the domestic turkey, which derives from the South Mexican subspecies of wild turkey .Adult wild turkeys have long reddish-yellow to grayish-green...

s. The Red-Tailed Hawk is also considered a good bird for beginners. The Eurasian or Common Buzzard
Common Buzzard
The Common Buzzard is a medium to large bird of prey, whose range covers most of Europe and extends into Asia. It is usually resident all year, except in the coldest parts of its range, and in the case of one subspecies.-Description:...

 is also used, although this species requires more perseverance if rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s are to be hunted.

True hawks (Accipiter)


The genus Accipiter
Accipiter
The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

 is also found worldwide. The hawk expert Mike McDermott once said, "The attack of the accipiters is extremely swift, rapid and violent in every way." They are well known in falconry use both in Europe and North America. The Northern Goshawk has been trained for falconry for hundreds of years, taking a variety of birds and mammals. Other popular Accipiters used in falconry include: the Cooper's Hawk and Sharp-shinned Hawk in North America and the European Sparrowhawk in Europe and Eurasia.

Falcons (Falco)


The genus Falco
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

 is found worldwide and has occupied a central niche in ancient and modern falconry. Most falcon species used in falconry are specialized predators, most adapted to capturing bird prey such as the Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

 and Merlin
Merlin (bird)
The Merlin is a small species of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere. A bird of prey once known colloquially as a pigeon hawk in North America, the Merlin breeds in the northern Holarctic; some migrate to subtropical and northern tropical regions in winter.-European and North American...

. A notable exception is the use of desert falcons such the Saker Falcon
Saker Falcon
The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

 in ancient and modern Middle Eastern and Asian falconry, where hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s were and are commonly taken. In North America, the Prairie Falcon
Prairie Falcon
The Prairie Falcon is a medium-sized falcon of western North America.It is about the size of a Peregrine Falcon or a crow, with an average length of 40 cm , wingspan of 1 metre , and weight of 720 g...

 and the Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon
The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

 can capture small mammal prey (as well as gamebirds and waterfowl) in falconry, but this is rarely practiced. Young falconers often begin practicing the art with American Kestrel
American Kestrel
The American Kestrel , sometimes colloquially known as the Sparrow Hawk, is a small falcon, and the only kestrel found in the Americas. It is the most common falcon in North America, and is found in a wide variety of habitats. At long, it is also the smallest falcon in North America...

s, the smallest of the falcons in North America; there is debate on whether this practice should continue.

Booted eagles (Aquila)



The Aquila
Aquila (genus)
Aquila is the genus of true eagles. It is often united with the buteos, sea eagles and other more heavyset Accipitridae, but more recently it appears as if they are less distinct from the more slender accipitrine hawks than believed...

 (all have "booted" or feathered tarsus) genus has a nearly worldwide distribution. The more powerful types are used in falconry; for example Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

s have reportedly been used to hunt wolves  in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, and are now used by the Kazakh eagle hunters to hunt foxes and other large prey, as they are in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

. Most are primarily ground-oriented but will occasionally take birds. Eagles are not used as widely in falconry as other birds of prey, due to the lack of versatility in the larger species (they primarily hunt over large open ground), the greater potential danger to other people if hunted in a widely populated area, and the difficulty of training and managing an eagle.

Owls (Strigidae)


Owl
Owl
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions . Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish...

s are not closely related to hawks or falcons. There is little written in classic falconry that discusses the use of Owls in falconry. However, there are at least two species that have successfully been used, the Eurasian Eagle Owl
Eurasian Eagle Owl
The Eurasian Eagle-Owl is a species of eagle owl resident in much of Eurasia. It is also one of the largest types of owls.-Description:The Eagle Owl is a large and powerful bird, smaller than the Golden Eagle but larger than the Snowy Owl...

 and the Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl
The Great Horned Owl, , also known as the Tiger Owl, is a large owl native to the Americas. It is an adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas.-Description:...

.
Successful training of owls is much different from the training of hawks and falcons, as they are hearing- rather than sight-oriented (owls can only see black and white, and are long-sighted). This often leads falconers to believe that they are less intelligent, as they are distracted easily by new or unnatural noises and they do not respond as readily to food cues. However, if trained successfully, owls show intelligence on the same level as that of hawks and falcons.

Osprey (Pandion)


The Osprey
Osprey
The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

 is a medium-large bird with a worldwide distribution that specializes in eating fish. Generally speaking, it does not lend itself to falconry. However, the possibility of using a falcon to catch fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 remains intriguing. (Some references to "ospreys" in old records mean a mechanical fish-catching device and not the bird.)

Sea eagles (Haliaëtus)


Most species of genus Haliaëtus catch and eat fish, some almost exclusively. However, in countries where they are not protected, some have been effectively used in hunting for ground quarry.

Species for beginners


In North America only the American Kestrel
American Kestrel
The American Kestrel , sometimes colloquially known as the Sparrow Hawk, is a small falcon, and the only kestrel found in the Americas. It is the most common falcon in North America, and is found in a wide variety of habitats. At long, it is also the smallest falcon in North America...

 and the Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

 are permitted for a beginner falconer during his/her apprenticeship, except in Alaska, where the Northern Goshawk is allowed as it is much more abundant there than the Red-tailed Hawk. Opinions differ on the usefulness of the Kestrel for beginners due to its inherent fragility. In the UK, beginner falconers are often permitted to acquire a larger variety of birds, but the Harris Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

 remain the most commonly used for beginners and experienced falconers alike. The Red-tailed Hawk is held in high regard in the UK due to the ease of breeding them in captivity, their inherent hardiness, and their capability hunting the rabbits and hares commonly found throughout the countryside in the UK. Many falconers in the UK and North America switch to accipiters or large falcons following their introduction with easier birds. In the USA accipiters, several types of buteos, and large falcons are only allowed to be owned by falconers who hold a general license. There are three kinds of falconry licenses in the United States, typically Apprentice class, General class, and Master class.

Falconry around the world


Falconry is currently practiced in many countries around the world.
The falconer's traditional choice of bird is the Northern Goshawk and Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

. In contemporary falconry in both North American and the UK they remain popular, although the Harris Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

 are likely more widely used. The Northern Goshawk and the Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

 are more commonly used in Eastern Europe than elsewhere. In the Middle East, the Saker Falcon
Saker Falcon
The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

 is the most traditional species flown against the Houbara Bustard
Houbara Bustard
The Houbara Bustard, Chlamydotis undulata, is a large bird in the bustard family.-Description:The Houbara Bustard is a small to mid-sized bustard. It measures in length and spans across the wings. It is brown above and white below, with a black stripe down the sides of its neck. In flight, the...

, Sandgrouse
Sandgrouse
The sandgrouse are a family, Pteroclididae, of 16 bird species, the only living members of the order Pteroclidiformes. They are restricted to treeless open country in the Old World, such as plains and semi-deserts. They are distributed across northern, southern and eastern Africa as well as...

, Stone-curlew
Stone-curlew
The Stone-curlews, also known as Dikkops or Thick-knees are a group of largely tropical birds in the family Burhinidae. Despite the group being classified as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats...

, Hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s, and other birds. Peregrines and other captively bred imported falcons are also commonplace. Falconry remains an important part of the Arab heritage and culture. The UAE reportedly spends over 27 million dollars annually towards the protection and conservation of wild falcons, and has set up several state-of-the-art falcon hospitals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
There are two breeding farms in the Emirates, as well as those in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Every year, falcon beauty contests and demonstrations take place at the ADIHEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi.


Sparrowhawks were formerly used to take a range of small birds, but are really too delicate for serious falconry and have fallen out of favour now that American species are available.

In North America and the UK, falcons usually fly only after birds. Large falcons are typically trained to fly in the "waiting-on" style, where the falcon climbs and circles above the falconer and/or dog and the quarry is flushed when the falcon is in the desired commanding position. Classical game hawking in the UK saw a brace of peregrine falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

s flown against the red grouse
Red grouse
The Red Grouse is a medium sized bird of the grouse family which is found in heather moorland in Great Britain and Ireland. It is usually classified as a subspecies of the Willow Grouse but is sometimes considered to be a separate species Lagopus scoticus...

, or merlin
Merlin (bird)
The Merlin is a small species of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere. A bird of prey once known colloquially as a pigeon hawk in North America, the Merlin breeds in the northern Holarctic; some migrate to subtropical and northern tropical regions in winter.-European and North American...

s in "ringing" flights after skylark
Skylark
The Skylark is a small passerine bird species. This lark breeds across most of Europe and Asia and in the mountains of north Africa. It is mainly resident in the west of its range, but eastern populations are more migratory, moving further south in winter. Even in the milder west of its range,...

s. Rook
Rook (bird)
The Rook is a member of the Corvidae family in the passerine order of birds. Named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, the species name frugilegus is Latin for "food-gathering"....

s and crow
Crow
Crows form the genus Corvus in the family Corvidae. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws to the Common Raven of the Holarctic region and Thick-billed Raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents and several...

s are classic game for the larger falcons, and the magpie
Magpie
Magpies are passerine birds of the crow family, Corvidae.In Europe, "magpie" is often used by English speakers as a synonym for the European Magpie, as there are no other magpies in Europe outside Iberia...

, making up in cunning what it lacks in flying ability, is another common target. Short-wings can be flown in both open and wooded country against a variety of bird and small mammal prey. Most hunting with large falcons requires large open tracts where the falcon is afforded opportunity to strike or seize its quarry before it reaches cover. Most of Europe practices similar styles of falconry, but with differing degrees of regulation.

Medieval falconers often rode horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s but this is now rare with the exception of contemporary Kazakh and Mongolian falconry. In Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, and Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, the golden eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

 is traditionally flown (often from horseback), hunting game as large as foxes and wolves.

South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 allows a tiny number of people (a national total of 4 in 2005) to own raptors and practice falconry as a cultural asset.

In Japan, the Northern Goshawk has been used for centuries. Japan continues to honor its strong historical links with falconry (Takagari
Takagari
' is Japanese falconry, a sport of the noble class, and a symbol of their nobility, their status, and their warrior spirit.In Japan, records indicate that falconry began in the fourth century. According to a passage in the Nihon Shoki , falconry was introduced by the Baekje noble Sakenokimi in 359...

) while adopting some modern techniques and technologies.

In Australia, although falconry is not specifically illegal, it is illegal to keep any type of bird of prey in captivity without the appropriate permits. The only exemption is when the birds are kept for purposes of rehabilitation (for which a licence must still be held), and in such circumstances it may be possible for a competent falconer to teach a bird to hunt and kill wild quarry, as part of its regime of rehabilitation to good health and a fit state to be released into the wild.

South Africa has about 180 active falconers.

Tangent aspects, such as bird abatement
Bird abatement
The risks that birds create in certain circumstances have brought the need for bird abatement. Amongst those risks are loss of investments in farming and aviculture, aircraft crashes, and bacteriological and viral contamination...

 and raptor rehabilitation
Raptor rehabilitation
Raptor rehabilitation is a field of veterinary medicine dealing with care for sick or injured birds of prey, with the goal of returning them to the wild...

 also employ falconry techniques to accomplish their goals, but are not falconry in the proper sense of the word.

Clubs and organizations


In the UK the British Falconers' Club is the oldest and largest of the falconry clubs. Working closely with the Hawk Board, an advisory body representing the interests of UK bird of prey keepers, the BFC is in the forefront of raptor conservation, falconer education and sustainable falconry. Established in 1927 the BFC now has a membership of over 1200 falconers. It began as a small and elite club, however it is now a sizeable democratic organisation that has members from all walks of life flying hawks, falcons and eagles at legal quarry throughout the British Isles.

The North American Falconers' Association (NAFA), founded in 1961, is the premier club for falconry in the US, Canada and Mexico, and has members worldwide. See North American Falconers Association
North American Falconers Association
The North American Falconers Association is a falconry organization composed primarily of falconers.Founded in 1961 by Hal Webster, Frank Beebe and other prominent falconers of the time, NAFA is a not-for-profit private association formed to:*Provide communication among, and to disseminate...

. NAFA is the primary club in the United States and has a membership from around the world. NAFEX is the primary falconry forum for the United States and North America. Most USA states have their own falconry clubs. Although these clubs are primarily social, they also serve to represent falconers within the state in regards to that state's wildlife regulations.

The IAF - International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, founded in 1968, is currently representing 75 falconry clubs and conservation organisations from 50 countries worldwide totalling over 30,000 members.

Captive breeding and conservation


The successful and now widespread captive breeding of birds of prey began as a response to dwindling wild populations due to persistent toxins such as PCB
Polychlorinated biphenyl
Polychlorinated biphenyls are a class of organic compounds with 2 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl, which is a molecule composed of two benzene rings. The chemical formula for PCBs is C12H10-xClx...

s and DDT, systematic persecution as indesirable predators, habitat loss, and the resulting limited availability of popular species for falconry, particularly the peregrine falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

. The first known raptors to breed in captivity belonged to a German falconer named Renz Waller. In 1942-1943 he produced two young peregrines in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

 in Germany.

The first successful captive breeding of peregrine falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

s in North America occurred in the early 1970s by The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1970 that conserves threatened and endangered birds of prey. The successful recovery in the United States of the Peregrine Falcon, which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999 , enabled the organization to expand its...

, Professor and falconer Heinz Meng, and other private falconer/breeders such as Dave Jamiesson and Les Boyd who bred the first peregrines by means of artificial insemination. In Great Britain, falconer Phillip Glasier of the Falconry Centre in Newent, Gloucestershire, was successful in obtaining young from more than 20 species of captive raptors. A cooperative effort began between various government agencies, non-government organizations, and falconers to supplement various wild raptor populations in peril. This effort was strongest in North America where significant private donations along with funding allocations through the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

 of 1972 provided the means to continue the release of captive-bred Peregrines, Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

s, Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

s, Aplomado Falcon
Aplomado Falcon
The Aplomado Falcon, Falco femoralis, is a medium-sized falcon of the Americas. The species' largest contiguous range is in South America, but not in the deep interior Amazon Basin. It was long known as Falco fusco-coerulescens or Falco fuscocaerulescens, but these names are now believed to refer...

s and others. By the mid-1980s, falconers had become self-sufficient as regards sources of birds to train and fly, in addition to the immensely important conservation benefits conferred by captive breeding.

Until recently, nearly all Peregrines used for falconry in the U.S. were captive-bred from the progeny of falcons taken before the U. S. Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

 was enacted and from those few infusions of wild genes available from Canada and special circumstances. Peregrine Falcons were removed from the United States' endangered species list in 1999 due largely to the effort and knowledge of falconers in collaboration with the Peregrine Fund and state and federal agencies - through a technique called hacking
Hack (falconry)
Hacking is a training method that helps young falcons reach their hunting potential by giving them exercise and experience. This technique is used to prepare the falcon to become an independent hunter. The sequence of the procedure includes captivity, releasing, flight, and either the falcon will...

. Finally, after years of close work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a limited take of wild Peregrines was allowed in 2004, the first wild Peregrines taken specifically for falconry in over 30 years.

Some controversy has existed over the origins of captive breeding stock used by The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1970 that conserves threatened and endangered birds of prey. The successful recovery in the United States of the Peregrine Falcon, which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999 , enabled the organization to expand its...

 in the recovery of peregrine falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

s throughout the contiguous United States. Several peregrine subspecies were included in the breeding stock, including birds of Eurasian origin. Due to the extirpation
Local extinction
Local extinction, also known as extirpation, is the condition of a species which ceases to exist in the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere...

 of the Eastern anatum (Falco peregrinus anatum), the near extirpation of the anatum in the Midwest, and the limited gene pool within North American breeding stock, the inclusion of non-native subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 was justified to optimize the genetic diversity
Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity, the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary....

 found within the species as a whole. Such strategies are common in endangered species re-introduction scenarios, where dramatic population declines result in a genetic bottleneck and the loss of genetic diversity
Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity, the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary....

.

Laws regulating the capture and import/export of wild falcons throughout the Middle East and Asia vary, and the effective enforcement of existing national and international regulations are lacking in some regions. The proliferation of captive-bred falcons into the falcon markets of the Arabian Peninsula has likely moderated this demand for wild falcons.

Hybrid falcons


The species within the genus Falco are closely related and some pairings produce viable offspring. The heavy northern Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon
The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

 and Asiatic Saker
Saker Falcon
The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

 being especially closely related, and it is not known whether the Altai Falcon
Altai Falcon
The Altai falcon is a large falcon of questionable taxonomic position. It is often considered to be a subspecies of the Saker falcon ....

 is a subspecies of the Saker or descendants of naturally occurring hybrids. Peregrine and prairie falcons have been observed breeding in the wild and have produced offspring. These pairings are thought to be rare, however extra-pair copulations between closely related species may occur more frequently and/or account for most natural occurring hybridization. Some male first generation hybrids may have viable sperm, whereas very few first generation female hybrids lay fertile eggs.
Because of these factors, naturally occurring hybridization is thought to be somewhat insignificant to gene flow in raptor species.

The first hybrid falcons produced in captivity occurred in western Ireland when veteran falconer Ronald Stevens and the Hon. John Morris put a male saker
Saker Falcon
The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

 and a female peregrine
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

 into the same moulting mews
Mews
Mews is a primarily British term formerly describing a row of stables, usually with carriage houses below and living quarters above, built around a paved yard or court, or along a street, behind large city houses, such as those of London, during the 17th and 18th centuries. The word may also...

 for the spring and early summer, and the two mated and produced offspring.

Captively bred hybrid falcons have been available since the late 1970s, and enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity in North America and the UK in the 1990s. Hybrids were initially "created" to combine the horizontal speed and size of the gyrfalcon with the good disposition and aerial ability of the peregrine. Hybrid falcons first gained large popularity throughout the Arabian Peninsula, feeding a demand for particularly large and aggressive female falcons capable and willing to take on the very large Houbara Bustard, the classic falconry quarry in the deserts of the Middle East. These falcons were also very popular with Arab falconers as they tended to withstand a respiratory disease (aspergillosis from the mold strain aspergillus
Aspergillus
Aspergillus is a genus consisting of several hundred mold species found in various climates worldwide. Aspergillus was first catalogued in 1729 by the Italian priest and biologist Pier Antonio Micheli...

) in stressful desert conditions better than other pure species from the northern hemisphere.

The Gyr/Peregrine hybrid is bred to combine the horizontal speed and size of the gyrfalcon with the good disposition and aerial nature of a peregrine. Such hybrids have become popular among falconers worldwide.

Artificial selection and domestication


Some believe that no species of raptor have been in captivity long enough to have undergone successful selective breeding for desired traits. Captive breeding of raptors over several generations tends to result, either deliberately, or inevitably as a result of captivity, in selection for certain traits, including:
  • Ability to survive in captivity.
  • Ability to breed in captivity.
  • (In most cases) suitability for interactions with humans for falconry. Birds which demonstrated an unwillingness to hunt with men were most often discarded, rather than being placed in breeding projects.
  • With gyrfalcon
    Gyrfalcon
    The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

    s in areas away from their natural Arctic tundra
    Tundra
    In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

     habitat
    Habitat (ecology)
    A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism...

    , better disease resistance
    Immunology
    Immunology is a broad branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms. It deals with the physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and diseases; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders ; the...

    .
  • With gyrfalcons, feather color http://www.falconscanada.com.

Escaped falconry birds


Falconers' birds are inevitably lost on occasion, though most are found again. The main reason birds can be found again is because, during free flights, birds usually wear radio transmitters or bells. The transmitters are in the middle of the tail, on the back, or attached to the bird's legs.

Records of species becoming established in Britain after escaping or being released include:
  • Escaped Harris hawks reportedly breed in the wild in Britain.
  • The return of the Goshawk as a breeding bird to Britain since 1945 is due in large part to falconers' escapes: the earlier British population was wiped out by gamekeepers and egg collectors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • A pair of European Eagle Owls bred in the wild in Yorkshire for several years, feeding largely or entirely on rabbit
    Rabbit
    Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

    s. The pair are most likely captive escapees. It is not yet known if this will lead to a population becoming established.
  • In 1986, a lost captive-bred female prairie falcon
    Prairie Falcon
    The Prairie Falcon is a medium-sized falcon of western North America.It is about the size of a Peregrine Falcon or a crow, with an average length of 40 cm , wingspan of 1 metre , and weight of 720 g...

     (which had been cross-fostered by an adult peregrine
    Peregrine Falcon
    The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

     in captivity) mated with a wild male peregrine in Utah
    Utah
    Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

    . The prairie falcon was trapped and the eggs removed, incubated, hatched and the hybrid offspring were given to falconers. The wild peregrine paired with another peregrine the next year.
  • Falconry in Hawaii is prohibited largely due to the fears of escaped non-native birds of prey becoming established on the island chain and aggravating an already rampant problem of invasive species impacts on native widlife and plant communities.

Regulations in Great Britain


In sharp contrast to the US, falconry in Great Britain is permitted without a special license. However, a restriction exists of using only captive-bred birds. In the lengthy, record-breaking debates in Westminster
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 during the passage of the 1981 Wildlife & Countryside Bill, efforts were made by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Bird Notes and News was first published in April 1903.The title changed to 'Bird Notes' in 1947. In the 1950s, there were four copies per year . Each volume covered two years, spread over three calendar years...

 and other lobby groups to have falconry outlawed, but these were successfully resisted. After a centuries-old but informal existence in Britain, the sport of falconry was finally given formal legal status in Great Britain by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom and was implemented to comply with the Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds...

, which allowed it to continue provided all captive raptors native to the UK were officially ringed and government-registered. DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

-testing was also available to verify birds' origins. Since 1982 the British government's licensing requirements have been overseen by the Chief Wildlife Act Inspector for Great Britain, who is assisted by a panel of unpaid assistant inspectors.

British falconers are entirely reliant upon captive-bred birds for their sport. The taking of raptors from the wild for falconry, although permitted by law under government licence, has not been allowed in recent decades.

Anyone is permitted to possess legally registered or captive-bred raptors, although falconers are anxious to point out that this is not synonymous with falconry, which specifically entails the hunting of live quarry with a trained bird. A raptor kept merely as a pet or possession, although the law may allow it, is not considered to be a falconer's bird. Birds may be used for breeding or kept after their hunting days are over, but falconers believe it is preferable that young, fit birds are flown at quarry.

Regulations in the U.S


In the United States, falconry is legal in all states except Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

. It is also illegal in the District of Columbia. A falconer must have state and federal licenses to practice the sport. Acquiring a falconry license in the US requires an aspiring falconer to pass a written test, have equipment and facilities inspected, and serve a minimum of two years as an apprentice under a licensed falconer. There are three classes of the falconry license, which is a permit issued jointly by the falconer's state of residence and the federal government. The aforementioned Apprentice license matriculates to a General Class license, which allows the falconer to possess no more than two raptors at a time. After a minimum of 5 years at General level, falconers may apply for a Master Class license, which allows them to keep 3 raptors for falconry.

Within the U.S., a state's regulations may be more, but not less, restrictive than the federal guidelines. Both state and federal regulations (as well as state hunting laws) must be complied with by the falconer. Most states afford falconers an extended hunting season relative to seasons for archery and firearms, however species to be hunted, bag limits, and possession limits remain the same for both. No extended seasons for falconry exist for the hunting of migratory birds such as waterfowl and doves.

Federal regulation of falconry in North America is enforced under the statutes of the Migratory Bird Treaty
Migratory Bird Treaty
The Migratory Bird Treaty or Convention is a environmental treaty between Canada and the United States. It was originally signed on by the U.S...

 Act of 1918 (MBTA), originally designed to address the rampant commercial market hunting of migratory waterbirds during the early 20th century. Birds of prey suffered extreme persecution from the early 1900s through the 1960s, where thousands of birds where shot at conspicuous migration sites and many state widlife agencies issued bounties for carcasses. Due to widespread persecution and further impacts to raptor populations from DDT and other toxins, the act was amended in 1972 to include birds of prey (eagles are also protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act is a legislation in the United States of America that protects two species of eagle. The Bald Eagle was chosen as a national emblem of the United States by the Continental Congress of 1782 and was given legal protection by the Bald Eagle Protection Act of...

 of 1959). Under the MBTA, it is illegal for people to "take" migratory birds, their eggs, feathers or nests. Take is defined in the MBTA to "include by any means or in any manner, any attempt at hunting, pursuing, wounding, killing, possessing or transporting any migratory bird, nest, egg, or part thereof". Falconers are allowed to trap, and otherwise possess certain birds of prey and their feathers with special permits issued by the Migratory Bird Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and by state wildlife agencies (issuers of trapping permits).

The Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) restricts the import and export of most native birds species and are listed in the CITES Appendix I, II, & III.

The Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA), legislation put into effect circa 1993, regulates importation of any CITES-listed birds into the United States.

Some controversy exists over the issue of falconer's ownership of captively bred birds of prey. Falconry permits are issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in a manner that entrusts falconers to "take" (trap) and possess permitted birds and use them only for permitted activities, but does not transfer legal ownership. No legal distinction is made between native wild trapped vs. captive bred birds of the same species. This legal position is designed to disincentivize the commercial exploitation of native wildlife.

Falconry today


Falcons can live into their mid teens, with larger hawks living longer and eagles likely to see out middle-aged owners. Through the captive breeding of rescued birds, the last 30 years have seen a great rebirth of the sport, with a host of innovations; falconry's popularity, through lure
Lure (falconry)
A lure is a mechanism used in falconry. It is a pair of bird wings attached to an object which is swung round and round in a cord, for the falcon to chase....

 flying displays at country houses and game fairs, has probably never been higher in the past 300 years. Ornithologist Tim Gallagher
Tim Gallagher
Tim Gallagher has been the editor-in-chief of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Living Bird magazine since 1990.As one of the first three searchers to report seeing and identifying the species, he played an instrumental role in the 2004/2005 Arkansas reports of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker...

, editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Living Bird magazine, documented his experiences with modern falconry in a 2008 book, Falcon Fever.

Making use of the natural relationship between raptors and their prey, today, falconry is used to control pest birds and animals in urban areas, landfills, commercial buildings, and airports. Falconer Dan Frankian of Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control frequently speaks on the subject to news crews while his hawks and falcons are flying over Toronto City Hall, in an effort to control the city's gull and pigeon population.

Falconry Centres or Birds of Prey Centres house these raptors.
They are responsible for many aspects of Bird of Prey Conservation (through keeping the birds for education and breeding). Many conduct regular flying demonstrations and educational talks, and are popular with visitors worldwide.

Such centres may also provide Falconry Courses, Hawk Walks, Displays and other experiences with these raptors - see links at bottom of page for details.

Literature and film

  • In the ninth novel of the fifth day of Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron
    The Decameron
    The Decameron, also called Prince Galehaut is a 14th-century medieval allegory by Giovanni Boccaccio, told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales by ten young people....

    , a medieval collection of novellas, a falcon is central to the plot: The nobleman Federigo degli Alberighi has wasted his fortune courting his unrequited love until nothing is left but his brave falcon. When his lady come to see him he gives her the falcon to eat. Knowing his case she changes her mind, takes him to husband and makes him rich.
  • In Virginia Henley
    Virginia Henley
    Virginia Henley, née Virginia Syddall , is a British successful writer of historical-romance novels. She is well-known for her Medieval, Renaissance and other period piece romance novels.- Biography :...

    's historical romance books, "The Falcon and the Flower", "The Dragon and the Jewel", "The Marriage Prize", "The Border Hostage" and "Infamous", there are numerous mentions to the art of falconry, as these books are set at dates ranging from the 1150s to the 16th century.
  • The main character, Sam Gribley, in the children's novel "My Side of the Mountain
    My Side of the Mountain
    My Side of the Mountain is a 1959 children's novel by Jean Craighead George about a boy who learns about nature and himself. The book won the Newbery Honor Award in 1960 and was loosely adapted into a movie in 1969....

    " is a falconer. His trained falcon is named Frightful.
  • In the book and movie The Falcon and the Snowman
    The Falcon and the Snowman
    The Falcon and the Snowman is a 1985 film directed by John Schlesinger about two young American men, Christopher Boyce and Daulton Lee , who sold U.S. security secrets to the Soviet Union...

     about two Americans who sold secrets to the Soviets, one of the two main characters, Christopher Boyce, is a falconer.
  • In The Royal Tenenbaums
    The Royal Tenenbaums
    The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson and co-written with Owen Wilson. The film stars Gene Hackman and Anjelica Huston, with Danny Glover, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Owen Wilson....

    , Richie keeps a falcon named Mordecai on the roof of his home in Brooklyn
    Brooklyn
    Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

    .
  • In James Clavell's Shogun
    Shogun
    A was one of the hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shoguns, or their shikken regents , were the de facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the emperor...

    , Toranaga, one of the main characters, practices falconry throughout the book, often during or immediately before or after important plot events. His thoughts also reveal analogy between his falconry and his use of other characters towards his ends.
  • The 1985 film Ladyhawke
    Ladyhawke
    Ladyhawke is a 1985 fantasy film directed by Richard Donner, starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer. The film marked the second 20th Century Fox film to be co-produced and co-released by Warner Bros.. The first was The Towering Inferno; this time Warner got the U.S...

     involved a medieval warrior who carried a red tail hawk as a pet, but in truth, the hawk was actually his lover who had been cursed by an evil bishop to keep the two apart.
  • In The Dark Tower
    The Dark Tower (series)
    The Dark Tower is a series of books written by American author Stephen King, which incorporates themes from multiple genres, including fantasy, science fantasy, horror and western. It describes a "Gunslinger" and his quest toward a tower, the nature of which is both physical and metaphorical. King...

     series, the main character, Roland, uses a hawk named David, to win a trial by combat in order to become a Gunslinger.
  • "The Falconer" is a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

    , featuring Will Forte
    Will Forte
    Orville Willis Forte IV, better known as Will Forte , is an American actor, voice actor, comedian and writer best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2002–2010 and for starring in the SNL spin-off film MacGruber.-Early life:Forte was born in Alameda County, California, the son of...

     as a falconer who constantly finds himself in mortal peril and must rely on his loyal falcon, Donald, to rescue him.
  • Gabriel García Márquez's novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold
    Chronicle of a Death Foretold
    Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a novella by Gabriel García Márquez, published in 1981...

    's main character, Santiago Nasar, and his father are falconers.
  • Hodgesaargh is a falconer based in Lancre Castle in Terry Pratchett
    Terry Pratchett
    Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels...

    s Discworld
    Discworld
    Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by English author Sir Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R....

     book. He is an expert and dedicated falconer who unluckily seems to only keep birds that enjoy attacking him.
  • Fantasy author Mercedes Lackey
    Mercedes Lackey
    Mercedes "Misty" Lackey is a best-selling American author of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar...

     is a falconer and often adds birds of prey to her novels. Among the Tayledras or Hawkbrother race in her Chronicles of Valdemar, everyone bonds with a specially bred raptor called a bondbird which has limited powers of speech mind-to-mind and can scout and hunt for its human bondmate.
  • In the video game series "Samurai Shodown
    Samurai Shodown
    Samurai Shodown, known as in Japan, is a competitive fighting game produced by SNK for their Neo Geo arcade and home platform. In contrast to other fighting games at the time which were set in modern times and focused primarily on hand-to-hand combat, Samurai Shodown is set in feudal-era Japan ...

    ", one of the main characters is Nakoruru, an Ainu
    Ainu people
    The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

     priestess who also fights using falconry, with her hawk, Mamahaha
  • Crime novelist Andy Straka
    Andy Straka
    Andy Straka is a Shamus Award winning American crime novelist. Born and raised in upstate New York and a graduate of Williams College, he worked in publishing and medical sales for nearly fifteen years before turning to writing in the late 1990s. His debut private eye novel, A Witness Above,...

     is a falconer and his Frank Pavlicek private eye series features a former NYPD homicide detective and falconer as protagonist. The books include A Witness Above, A Killing Sky, Cold Quarry (2001, 2002, 2003), and Kitty Hitter (2009).
  • In Irish Poet William Butler Yeats's poem, "The Second Coming", Yeats uses the image of, "The falcon cannot hear the falconer" as a metaphor for social disintegration.
  • American Poet Robert Duncan
    Robert Duncan (poet)
    Robert Duncan was an American poet and a student of H.D. and the Western esoteric tradition who spent most of his career in and around San Francisco. Though associated with any number of literary traditions and schools, Duncan is often identified with the poets of the New American Poetry and Black...

    's poem, "My Mother Would Be a Falconress"
  • The comic book Gold Ring
    Gold Ring
    Gold Ring is an United Arab Emirates comic written by Qais Sedki and drawn by Akira Himekawa. The book is the UAE's first manga. The comic is printed in Arabic; an English version is available through mail order....

     by Qais M. Sedki and Akira Himekawa
    Akira Himekawa
    is the pen name of a duo of female comic book artists.The artists have worked together since 1991 and have not chosen to reveal their real names. The women are individually pen named and...

     features falconers and falcons

English language idioms derived from falconry


These English language idioms are derived from falconry
Falconry
Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a hawk or an eagle...

:
Expression Meaning in falconry Derived meaning
in a bate bating: trying to fly off when tethered in a panic
fed up of a hawk, with its crop full and so not wanting to hunt no longer interested in something
haggard of a hawk, caught from the wild when adult looking exhausted and unwell, in poor condition; wild or untamed
under his/her thumb of the hawk's leash when secured to the fist tightly under control
wrapped round his/her little finger of the hawk's leash when secured to the fist tightly under control

See also


  • Animal training
    Animal training
    Animal training refers to teaching animals specific responses to specific conditions or stimuli. Training may be for the purpose of companionship, detection, protection, entertainment or all of the above....

  • Anti-hunting
    Anti-hunting
    Anti-hunting is a term which is used to identify or describe persons or groups, generally in a political context, who stand in opposition to hunting. It is also used to describe efforts to prevent hunting through legislation and other means which can include acts of civil disobedience such as hunt...

  • Car hawking
    Car hawking
    Car hawking, or drive-by falconry is a modern falconry technique which relies upon the use of a motor car or other motor vehicle as a base from which to hunt wild quarry species with a trained raptor....

  • Falconer's knot
    Falconer's knot
    The falconer's knot is a knot used in falconry to tether a bird of prey to a perch. Some sources show this knot to be identical to the halter hitch, but with a specific method of single-handed tying needed when the other hand is occupied holding the bird....

  • Falconry training and technique
  • Hack (falconry)
    Hack (falconry)
    Hacking is a training method that helps young falcons reach their hunting potential by giving them exercise and experience. This technique is used to prepare the falcon to become an independent hunter. The sequence of the procedure includes captivity, releasing, flight, and either the falcon will...

  • Hunting
    Hunting
    Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

  • Hunting dog
    Hunting dog
    A hunting dog refers to any dog who assists humans in hunting. There are several types of hunting dogs developed for various tasks. The major categories of hunting dogs include hounds, terriers, dachshunds, cur type dogs, and gun dogs...

  • Parahawking
    Parahawking
    Parahawking is an activity that combines paragliding with falconry. Birds of prey are trained to fly with paragliders, guiding them to thermals for in-flight rewards and performing aerobatic manoeuvres....

  • Takagari
    Takagari
    ' is Japanese falconry, a sport of the noble class, and a symbol of their nobility, their status, and their warrior spirit.In Japan, records indicate that falconry began in the fourth century. According to a passage in the Nihon Shoki , falconry was introduced by the Baekje noble Sakenokimi in 359...


Further reading

  • Modern Apprentice: Site for North Americans interested in falconry by Lydia Ash. (Much information for this entry was due to her research)
  • Beatriz E. Candil García, Arjen E.Hartman, Ars Accipitraria: An Essential Dictionary for the Practice of Falconry and hawking"; Yarak Publishing, London, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9555607-0-5 (The excerpt on the language of falconry comes from this book)
  • Beatriz E. Candil García, The Red-tailed Hawk: The Great Unknown Yarak London, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9555607-4-3
  • F.L. Beebe, H.M. Webster, North American Falconry and Hunting Hawks; 8th edition, 2000, ISBN 0-685-66290-X,

External links