The Art goes back to 722 BC where it was first recorded by the Assyrians. Extremely popular from 500 AD-1600 AD in Europe it almost came to a complete halt with the invention of the shotgun giving mankind a more efficient way to provide food for his family. The true falconer's, the lovers of these birds, kept the Art alive and we are their descendents.
Animal rights activists and people who have no understanding of Falconry call it a blood sport. Nothing is further from reality. Hawks are predators and Man is simply a spectator and a witness to what occurs daily in the life of a hawk. Falconry is the interaction of the falconer and his hawk.
Working with predators is a challenge. They are fiercely independent and rebellious. The Art and Practice of Hawking has given me a front seat view of what occurs daily in the natural world which people never see in a lifetime. Witnessing incredible flights chasing quarry Red-Tails are extremely powerful, cunning, and courageous. They are truly regal.Through patience, manning, and training, my hawk has overcome his fear and now accepts me as his hunting companion. He knows the part I play and looks forward to me putting him on the wing. After a day's hunt he is called down to my gloved fist hitting speeds of 40 mph with wings closed and transported back to the safe confines of his weathering area home which provides protection from other Red-tails and night owls looking for a meal.
My name is John Shea and his name is Sparky and I practice The Art of Hawking. Above is a pic of Sparky. He hatched in April 2015.
Member of the American Falconry Conservancy (AFC).