Ireland – School of Falconry
I had seen movies of hunters working with their falcons back in Medieval times and thought it was fascinating. Never in a million years did I ever dream that I would get to work with a falcon one on one.
On our recent trip to Ireland, I was surprised when I looked over the itinerary and saw an afternoon dedicated to “School of Falconry.” Our tour guide had already done it before, loved the experience, and was very excited to take our group there. There was a little bit of fear factor when we first saw the raptors sitting on their perches in enclosed places.
We had a preliminary lesson before we ever interacted with the birds. When the instructor asked for volunteers, I jumped at the chance. I had been more interested in photographing the process before we got there, and thought I wanted to concentrate on the falcons in flight. But I was hooked from the moment our instructor started talking.
My falcon’s name was Wilde. I got to walk him into the woods along with another lady in our group and her falcon. Releasing the bird was the easy part, but holding steady when that hunter came flying back in to land on my arm was a whole different thing. The bird knew more what he was supposed to do than I did, but after the first landing we were a team.
When we switched with the other people in our group, I did have a few good moments with my camera. I wished we could have stayed for hours, or have gone back another day and done it all again. If I had to pick one thing we did out of twenty six days to do again, flying falcons would definitely be among the top choices on my list.