Eye On Texas: Falconry In Texas

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Bill Sallans

Falconry was practiced 2,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, and it’s still practiced by Texas game hunters today. This portrait was taken at a Texas Hawking Association event known as the Sky Trials, a contest in which falcons are judged on flight, obedience, and hunting success. Racing pigeons are released during the competition, prompting the falcons to stoop (dive) at their targets at speeds up to 200 mph. Sometimes the falcon catches its prey, sometimes it misses. Though the sport is labor-intensive and costly, the interplay between man and nature makes it an enduring collaboration.

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  • Natural_Texan

    Many raptors are taken from their nests and sold into this ‘hobby’. Where I am in Texas it is the beautiful Harris’ hawks that are especially targeted. Groups nesting within view of a road cannot fledge their young. On-line sites ask as much as $1000.00 for these animals? .. often advertised as captive-produced. Yet who knows? .. with that kind of bounty on their wild heads it’s always going to be profitable to take them from nature.

    Nope! .. not picking a fight with responsible falconers or owners of wildlife of any stripe.. just want to point out it’s not all art and beauty and history.. Other types of slavery were practiced in Mesopotamia two millennia ago.. and not everything steeped in history and tradition is positive or beautiful. Adios!