Had a wonderful opportunity because my wife Irene was talking to Gary and his wife who was in the same RV Park we are staying in. Irene was walking our dogs in the dog walk area and spied “Lazer” who is a female 4 year old Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) sitting on top of a sturdy perch. Being curious Irene struck up a conservation with his wife, one thing led to another and we were invited to meet with Gary and observe and possibly take a few photos when he flew Lazer for her exercise. To say we jumped at the chance is an understatement.
Gary is a licensed Falconer who hails from Idaho and likes to fly his Falcons daily for exercise. Gary brought along a lifelong friend of his, named Chuck (aka Charlie Brown). Chuck was very good at answering our questions and filling us in when Gary was busy flying “Lazer”
“Lazer is a beautiful bird and it is easy to see her and Gary have formed a tremendous bond which must come with the level of care she must receive. During our questioning about how often she is fed etc., we found out that she is weighed everyday and fed accordingly so that she can perform her best. If she was underfed she would be weak and if she was overfed would be lazy and lethargic. After “Lazer” had eaten what Gary had given her there was a small piece of flesh sticking to her beak. Gary just reached up, wiped from the side of her beak and fed it to her with his bare fingers. If that isn’t trust I don’t know what is.
Just when I didn’t think the day could get any better; I was given the opportunity to hold Lazer myself. What a treat that was, to see her so close up, feel her weight and be able to look directly into her eyes. What a marvelous creature. Irene took over camera duties while I was holding “Lazer” and she did a very good job.
Ruger; is a 2 year old male Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and he didn’t fly that night. Because he was a very handsome bird, I did take a photo of him but was in a low light situation. Still quite happy about how it turned out anyways.
Special thanks to Gary and Chuck for such a wonderful opportunity and education, to us it was very special!