Tuesday, March 23, 2010

for the birds

This small collection of hoods is about the only thing I have left from ten years in falconry. After I had mastered some of the intricacies of building and flying fighter kites, it seemed a natural progression to move on to hawks and falcons. It was a bit of a stretch undertaking this while living in San Francisco's Outer Mission District, but it turned out for me to be the right time and the right place.

I started out as everyone must with kestrels and red tail hawks. The kestrels were great little flyers. My Red Tail got to be very adept at catching ground squirrels and jack rabbits on the fill-land flats east of San Bruno Mountain. I also hunted there with my Salukis, but never achieved the bedouin ideal of working the birds and dogs together.

The pursuit of falconry ultimately contributed to a disaffection with city life. One day, we loaded the kids, the Red Tail, the dog and a friend from down the street in the Ford Econoline and headed for southern Idaho. The Snake River valley was the great center of modern falconry then, and I had the opportunity to fly some fine birds including Prairie Falcons and goshawks.

I did little photography during those years as falconry is a demanding taskmaster that permits no distractions. There are a few pictures somewhere, though. I'll dig them up eventually.

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