Catching Hawks

I have always had a fascination with birds of prey. In Cote D’Ivoire, I used to see black kites fly all over the places. I also saw sparrowhawks flying over chicken coops. To many, these birds were nuisances. These birds have a role in an ecosystem. A few years ago I went to Tunisia for a few weeks, and I saw a man with a falcon. In Arab-speaking countries, falconry is a big activity. People use falcons and other raptors to hunt everything from rabbits, quail, and pheasants. Falconers like to use peregrine falcons, and I have no idea why. I am not going to speculate the reason either. Tunisia was my first experience with falconry, but it would not be my last.

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A few years later, I was at Bass Pro Shop getting some fishing equipment. I saw falconer again. They had a peregrine falcon, a gyrfalcon and red tailed hawk. The gyrfalcon is the biggest falcon, but it is not the fastest. The fastest is the peregrine falcon; an adult peregrine falcon can reach a speed of 240 mph.

When I was stationed in Japan from 2004 to 2007, there were ospreys flying all over the archipelago. During a barbecue, I fed a few of them. I have not fed any recently, but I have taken pictures of birds of prey on power lines and poles. I am looking for my best catch. I regularly see red tailed hawks in North Carolina, they keep the rabbits out of the backyard.

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There are more raptors, and I plan to photograph more along the way. The pictures above seemed like juvenile birds. I look forward to the road ahead.

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