Falconry / Birds of Prey
Is there anything in the world that rings of freedom more than watching a bird in flight? Probably not. But its one thing to just watch any garden variety bird flying and quite another to watch one working in tandem with you. Most people believe that certain birds such as falcons, eagles, and other birds of prey are only available in the wild or in wildlife centers. Most find it surprising that not only can people own these birds, but they can enjoy the sport of falconry just as they would any hobby.
Unlike other hobbies, falconry is not just something you can go out and enjoy. In fact, depending on where you live there are state and federal laws that govern what birds you can have, how many, and what you can train them to do. As a result, if you decide you want to have bald eagles, own them by the dozens, and train them to attack neighbors who play their music too loud, you would be in for a surprise, especially when the authorities come to arrest you.
If, on the other hand, you decide you want to stay on the better side of the law, there is still plenty of fun to be had. First, most falconers--those who are into the sport--purchase their birds from licensed breeders. This ensure that you not only get a bird that has been legally obtained, but one that is healthy as well. Before this, however, you must earn a license to be a master birder, which can only be accomplished after working through an apprenticeship from another master. During this period, you will learn everything you will need to know to keep your birds happy and healthy. You will also learn how to breed them, although the number of birds you can have at one time is limited under the law. You will also learn how to train them to perform various tasks, primarily hunting.
It is also important that you understand before you becoming involved in falconry that the sport requires a considerable investment, not only in the birds themselves, but in all of the equipment related to the sport. Birds need a place to live, food to eat, and equipment to train and exercise them. Falconry, which can involve any number of other bird species, also requires a considerable investment of time and energy.
The most important thing to remember about falconry, however, is that despite all of the work and investments that are involved, there are very few other sports that are anywhere near as much fun or excitement.