Ohio Falconry Meet
The weekend of March 8th brought with it not only an unusual amount of warm weather, but also the yearly Ohio Falconry Meet. Several Ohio Falconers, a few apprentices and a few pre-apprentices, all gathered to a cabin in the woods to enjoy each others company and, most importantly, to hunt. Along with the array of Ohio falconers also came down a falconer named Mike Garcia from Illinois. He brought with him exotic falcons- a Gyrfalcon and a Gyr/Peregrine hybrid. Gyrfalcons are one of the most highly regarded birds of falconry, and princes in Asia used to gift kings with these same birds. Peregrines and Gyrs are an uncommon site in Ohio. The large mountains and dense woods do not provide an optimal place to hunt with the high-flying, quick diving falcons.
Mike Garcia showed the Ohio falconers how he kites his birds every day. He let a kite fly up over 1000 feet into the air, and released each bird to go after its reward; the rewards being a thousand feet up in the air with the kite, of course. The birds were incredible as they circled above, gaining height with each pass over our head. The Ohio Falconers were all left staring up at the sight they were not terribly used to seeing.
Aside form the great show of training by the Illinois Falconer, most of the weekend was spent hunting. The groups of falconers were split in two in order to cover more ground, and to give all the birds a chance to hunt. A total of three squirrels were captures over the weekend; one by falconer Brandon Hunter, one by Falconer Steve Pisarchik, and one by apprentice Falconer Rusty Reeves. Every bird showed multiple great dives and chases, and all-in-all the weekend was successful. Most of the Falconers flew Red Tails, but several other species made an appearance. These ranged from Harris Hawks, the second most common bird flown, to a Goshawk, to the Peregrine hybrid and Gyrfalcon brought by the Illinois Faloncer.