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Friday, October 3, 2014

Who Puts the Fear in 4H?

OK...not really fear, but maybe a little scary!  The boys are now participating in the Falconry project!
I am excited for them but also glad that this is just a exploratory project to introduce them to the idea and not a full fledged project!

Of course, the boys now want to go out and find their own baby falcon to train!  But, I will let them tell you about their adventure.  A guest post from Sean and Henry:

Falconry is training birds-of-prey to help people hunt.  This is hunting for sport (but the bird gets to eat the prey).  People have been training raptors to hunt for thousands of years.

We did not realize that falconry was legal and practiced in Texas, so we were surprised and excited to find out that there was a 4-H project in Falconry!

We arrived to see a stuffed falcon on a post (or so we thought!)  That was a cool idea, to bring a statue of a falcon in hood and jesses to show the kids.  Imagine our surprise when this statue started moving!  This 'statue' was a live red-tailed hawk, named Fury.

 Zaira wanted to get a closer look, but she was wary of the sharp, sharp talons.  Fury's owner took her in hand and showed off her wings and plumage to everyone.

We also got to see a very different kind of raptor.  Oliver, the great-horned owl.  He took a great interest in watching Zaira, I think he might have been just a bit peckish.  We also learned how owls can fly so quietly.  The leading edge of their wings have little projections that look like eyelashes.

To be a falconer in Texas, you have to apprentice with a licensed falconer.  This takes at least two years to complete, and you must pass an extensive exam to get your own license.

We are excited to go to more falconry meetings and learn more about this sport and its beautiful birds.

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