Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sky Falconry

It was one of those meant-to-be experiences. As we were coming up on our anniversary, my husband and I separately read an article in Westways Magazine about Sky Falconry, a place in Alpine, California where you could take a Basic Course in Falconry. Then we approached each other at the same time about taking the course. How could we not at that point?

It. Was. Amazing!!!! The instructors (Denise and Kirk) were engaging, informative, caring, educated, and entertaining. They made the one hour Basic Lesson feel like two with all the information and interaction involved. After a briefing on history and training, our group circled up and gloved up to have our own interaction with Hajduk the Harris Hawk we worked with. Female red-tailed hawk Ananda was returned to her sanctuary. Harris Hawks are easier to work with. With our left hands gloved and under the instructors' guidance, we called Hajduk to us (Hey Duke), then moved into position to allow the person across from us to call him. After we each had two chances to do this, we then had the opportunity to toss him food (raw quail) and watch him catch it in flight. After that it was time for a photo op, so we each got to call him again and have our photo taken by our companion with the bird. Absolutely amazing. As I stood there and watched, I could feel the bird's wings grazing my head. There were a couple of times he was distracted by prey, and he was on it in the blink of an eye. It's hard to believe so much was packed into one hour.

I would highly recommend this.We hope to return in the future for the Hawk Walk offered by Sky Falconry, which gives you even more time with the bird and watching it in its environment. A wonderful experience for adults and children. Even if you don't want to participate, you can will watch from the sidelines and still have an extraordinary experience. Pictures of the instructors and the star of the show are below. You'll find more photos on my Flickr page.

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