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.
See more of Austin photographer Bill Sallans’ work.
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