A Brief History of Falconry
Falconry, also known as hawking, is an ancient art. The sport of flying a raptor either in the hunt , or for the pleasure of the falconer or an audience, has been practiced for many hundreds of years,
Falconers train and fly falcons, whilst those who work with hawks are called austringers. Many different types of bird, including hawks, eagles, owls, falcons, osprey and kites can be trained and flown for pleasure either individualy or in public displays.
Falconry is a sport which requires dedication on the part of the falconer and extreme respect for the bird he is flying. Originally developed as a more efficient means of hunting than a bow and arrow, falconry demands a range of expertise and skill of the falconer, including field craft and leather craft.
Perhaps the earliest pictorial record of falconry is on the walls of Ancient Egyptian tombs. Historical references also exist in Arab, English, Russian and Chinese records. It was practiced in Asia as early as the 8th Century BC. In the middle ages it was a favourite pastime of the nobility and was revived in the 18th Century even though shooting was by then more popular, Many species of natural British birds of prey became listed as "near extinction" following the introduction and wide spread use of firearms.
Interest in falconry was at its peak from 500 - 1600 AD. During this period it became a highly regulated and popular art among nearly all European social classes. In Britain, falconry went beyond a sport for royalty, or being practiced as a necessity, instead its popularity approached that of a modern day "craze" or "fad" and became a status symbol in medieval society.
The Medieval "Boke of St Albans" ,dating from the 15th Century' lists birds by social rank and provides an illustration of the importance of falconry in medieval times
Interest in falconry is once again on the increase. The revival of a range of traditional crafts, together with birds of prey being featured in films such as "Kes" and more recently in the "Harry Potter" series of books, has resulted in a revival of enthusiasm across all age groups.
Like a dog - a falcon, hawk or owl is definitely not for Christmas as the training, care and maintenance of a bird of prey requires dedication and skill. A healthy bird will live for many years and is certainly a long term commitment in both time and money. Many birds are protected species and so the law governing their ownership is strict.
The best ways to experience falconry first hand are either to visit a falconry display at a local show, attend a falconry taster session or complete a short course in the principles and practice of falconry . Falconhigh can provide you with all of these experiences. To find out more visit "Experience Falconry".