Falconry Georgia Style

Chief, the red-tail hawk use his wings to hide his kill.  He is a 1 1/2 year-old male captured as a juvenile.

Last year Jamie joined us on our fishing trip to Apalachicola.  I sat next to a gerbil(Let’s call him Fred) and wondered what the hell this was all about.  Jamie is a licensed falconer.  The day before our trip, Jamie had taken his bird up to Lookout Mountain to give him some exercise.  The wind was blowing out of the east and Jamie’s bird took off on an updraft leaving him birdless.   Fred didn’t go fishing with us, but on the way back, traveling up US 27 in South Georgia Jamie would spy a red-tail, he put Fred in a cage like contraption and throw him out the window along the side of the road.  We’d stop 50 yards up and wait.  Jamie was hoping to trap a new bird. Fred was earning his keep.  Thank goodness he didn’t trap a hawk.  I just kept imagining what it would be like dealing with a wild Red-Tailed Hawk in the truck for 4 hours.

Chief moving to a new perch through North Georgia hardwoods.

Chief prepares to fly after successfully taking down his prey.  Jamie will work him through the woods, allowing Chief to maintain his hunting nature.

Chief works the woods for a squirrel or rabbit.   The young Red-Tailed Hawk willingly follows his trainer through the Northwest Georgia hardwoods.

Jamie stays ahead of Chief, looking for small game that will keep the hawk’s natural hunting skills sharp.

Chief takes off after taking down his prey.  Owen, a natural history and ecology teacher in Rome and his son Elliot watch the bird work.  This is a unique opportunity for Owen to study close-up, the feeding habits of the Red-Tailed Hawk.


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