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HomeSportsFalconry: An Ancient Hunting Technique Still Practiced Today

Falconry: An Ancient Hunting Technique Still Practiced Today

Falconry: An Ancient Hunting Technique Still Practiced Today

Falconry, also known as hawking, is the art of training birds of prey – falcons, hawks, eagles, and owls – to hunt for game in the wild. Despite being an ancient hunting technique, it is still practiced today in many parts of the world, with enthusiasts and professionals alike enjoying the thrill of the chase and the bond between bird and human.

Origins of Falconry

Falconry originated more than 4000 years ago in central Asia and soon spread to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It was a popular sport among the nomadic tribes of the region, who used the birds to hunt for food and as a status symbol. As civilization developed, falconry became associated with the wealthy and aristocratic class, who bred exotic birds and hired professional falconers to train them.

The Art of Training Birds of Prey

Training a bird of prey for hunting is an intricate process that requires patience, skill, and a deep understanding of the bird’s behavior. The training starts when the bird is a chick, with the falconer imprinting it with the human contact and socialization skills it needs to trust its handler. Gradually, the bird is introduced to a lure – a piece of meat attached to a string – that simulates prey, and the falconer teaches it to fly to the lure and return to the handler. As the bird’s skills improve, it is released into the wild to hunt live prey, with the falconer standing by to ensure its safety.

Benefits of Falconry

Aside from being a thrilling and challenging sport, falconry has several benefits for both the bird and the environment. Falcons and other birds of prey are natural predators that help control the population of small mammals and birds, which can otherwise damage crops or spread disease. By using trained birds of prey as a hunting tool, falconers can reduce the need for chemical pesticides and other harmful methods of pest control. In addition, falconry provides powerful conservation benefits, as many birds of prey are endangered or under threat due to habitat loss and other factors. Falconers are often involved in breeding and releasing captive-bred birds into the wild to help boost population numbers and protect vulnerable species.

Falconry around the World

Today, falconry is practiced all over the world, with varying traditions and techniques depending on the region and culture. In the Middle East, falconry is still a popular sport that has been practiced for centuries, with wealthy sheikhs breeding and training falcons for hunting and racing. In the United Kingdom, falconry is a thriving industry, with professional falconers providing pest control and entertainment services using trained birds of prey. In the United States, falconry is regulated by state and federal laws that require a permit and strict adherence to ethical and humane standards for bird care and training.


Q1. Is falconry a cruel sport?

A1. No, falconry is not a cruel sport. The birds used in falconry are treated with utmost care and respect, and the falconers adhere to strict ethical and humane standards for bird care and training.

Q2. What types of birds are used in falconry?

A2. Falcons, hawks, eagles, and owls are commonly used in falconry. The type of bird used depends on the hunting style, region, and personal preference of the falconer.

Q3. Is falconry legal in all parts of the world?

A3. Falconry is legal in many parts of the world, but it is subject to regulation and permits by local and national wildlife agencies.

Q4. Can anyone practice falconry?

A4. No, falconry is a highly specialized and regulated sport that requires extensive training, knowledge, and experience. In most countries, a permit is required to practice falconry.

Q5. Is falconry beneficial to the environment?

A5. Yes, falconry is beneficial to the environment and ecosystem, as it helps control pests and protect endangered species.

Q6. How has technology impacted falconry?

A6. Technology has influenced falconry in many ways, from the use of GPS technology to track and locate birds to the development of specialized equipment and gear for bird care and training.

Q7. How can I learn more about falconry?

A7. There are many organizations, clubs, and online resources dedicated to the study and promotion of falconry. Attending a training course, joining a local club, or reading books and articles on the topic are some ways to learn more about falconry.


Falconry is an ancient hunting technique that has survived the test of time and continues to inspire enthusiasts and professionals around the world. The art of training birds of prey is a delicate and complex process that requires patience, skill, and a deep understanding of the bird’s behavior. Falconry has significant benefits for the bird, the environment, and society, making it a sport that is both fascinating and important.



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