Friday, November 18, 2011

Kestrels

Many of the older falconers that I admire got their start with kestrels. Kestrels and sparrowhawks. It was typically after finding a forgotten falconry book in a library, seeing the film Kes, or discovering My Side of the Mountain. In Frances Hamerstrom's memoir, she recalls her 10 or 12 year old self stalking the woods with a kestrel and pocketing falcon-caught starlings.

But who says you have to start with a kestrel? Seeing children with eagles always made me double-take in Mongolia.

A 14 year old and his first eagle - we did some lure work with the eagles before the Festival
A young berkutchi at the Festival
Another young berkutchi. Photo by Nurbol Khajikhan.
When my eagle sustained a fox bite, concerned local children came to get a better look
 That is not to say they disregard risk. Just before Kukan handed me my freshly-trapped eagle to start training, he hesitated. "Remember Lauren" he said. "An eagle can stop a wolf. A wolf can stop a horse. A horse can stop you. Therefore, an eagle can stop you. Be careful."

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