Last week I saw an advertisement for something called a Hawk Fest that was being held at Lake Erie Metropark about 45 minutes away from us.
I thought it sounded interesting so on Saturday, I packed us a picnic lunch and we headed off.
It was being sponsored by the Michigan Hawking Club. Who knew there was a Hawking Club? Here's what I took from their website:
The Michigan Hawking Club is a non-political, non-profit organization whose purpose is preservation of the sport of falconry and conservation of birds of prey.
The goals of the MHC are…
- To promote recognition of falconry as a legal field sport and support the practice of falconry to the highest standards.
- To provide communication among, and to disseminate relevant information to, club members.
- To promote scientific study of raptorial species, their care, welfare, and training.
- To promote conservation of birds of prey and an appreciation for their value in nature and in wildlife conservation programs.
- To establish traditions which will aid, perpetuate, and further the welfare of falconry, and the raptors it employs.
Here is a description of the sport of falconry.
Falconry is the sport of hunting wild game in its natural state with a trained bird of prey (raptor).
Falconry in various forms has existed for thousands of years and has been practiced by many cultures around the world. It is believed to have started somewhere in Central Asia and has spread from there.
The care, training, and hunting with a raptor cannot be considered the same as keeping a pet or any other domestic animal. This sport is extremely demanding, time consuming, and could even be described as a lifestyle. It requires A great deal of knowledge, skill, and commitment in order to be successful.
So, think what you may about this sport. I suppose you could be against trapping them to use for something like this and I'm not sure exactly what I think about it. From seeing these birds and listening to the owners though I can see they are well taken care of.
We just went there to see some of them up close!
This is a red tail hawk. We see enough of those flying around here and sitting in trees but to see one up close was pretty cool! You can tell how big he is, too, and look at his fierce looking face! The keeper said his diet consists of mostly squirrels and when they dive, they only get their prey 20% of the time. However, I can personally attest to them loving doves, too, considering the pile of dove feathers we occasionally find on our lawn!
The biggest bird there was this Great horned owl. He was magnificent! The keeper said their diet mainly consists of rabbits and they catch their prey 90% of the time! One time we heard one hooting in the pine tree outside our front door, but by the time Rich got a flashlight he had gone to a tree across the street!
Levi was able to start Pre-K a little early instead of waiting until he turns 4 on the 27th. Shauna has time for herself now Monday-Thursday from 12-3!