Falconry is the art of training birds of prey to hunt quarry in its natural
state. Although commonly thought to have originated some 2,000 years B.C.
in the Far East, recent evidence suggests that falconry maybe as old as
15,000 years with origins in the Middle East.
In the 12 and 13th Centuries falconry was very popular among the Mongolian
tribes. The sons of Genghis Khan are known to have hunted swans with falcons
on the plains near Samarkand, China. In the 1200s, Marco Polo reported that
Kublai Khan's hawking party included 10,000 falconers carrying a 'vast number
of gyrfalcons, peregrine falcons and sakers...'.
Today falconry is practiced worldwide with many raptor species and subspecies
used for hunting. Most falconers practice falconry for fun and their love
of birds of prey and wildlife. In some parts of the world, however, such
as Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, and Kazakhstan, falconry remains an important
method of acquiring food.
In the UAE (United Arab Emirates) falconry is one of the native Arabs most popular sport,
falcons such as the Gyr/Peregrine female (also called Gyr/Shaheen) and male
(also known as Tibba) are used to hunt Houbara bustard and Kariowan.
Also the Gyr/Saker Falcon (or Gyr/Hurr) is a popular falcon for hunting.
Since many falcon breeders started to breed these kinds of hybrid falcons
specifically for the Arab falcon market the pressure on the wild bird
population of Gyr, Saker and Peregrine Falcons have eased significantly.
As a falcon breeder the captive breeding of falcons is not only a job but
a way of life. It’s not only the hunting that attract the Arabs, but also
the falcon competitions, every year several competitions are held in the
UAE where the owner of the fastest falcon in its group wins a brand new 4
In the last 30 years a variety of new training and conditioning techniques
and equipment, such as telemetry, imprinting, high-jumping, and captive
breeding, have revolutionised falconry. In the last decade, the Internet
has also played a major role in evolution of falconry, enabling communication
and information transfer between falconers from around the world.
Communication and co-operation between falconers can only be a good thing
as the pressures on falconry increase. Organisations, such as the International
Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, represent falconry
on a global scale and are continuously campaigning for the future of falconry.
At Blue Falcon I fully understand the pressures on falconry and wild
populations of birds of prey, and are
combating them in two ways:
1. a captive breeding program producing falcons for falconers
reducing the trapping pressure on
2. research on falcon populations, thus increasing our
understanding of wild birds of prey.