Peregrine Spring: A Master Falconer's Extraordinary Life with Birds of Prey
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Peregrine Spring, Nancy Cowan’s memoir of her thirty years living intimately with raptors, gives us a new perspective on the relationship between humans and the natural world. Cowan shares her experiences running a world-famous falconry school, and the lessons she's learned from her birds. From retrieving her falcon from the local police “lock up,” to finding her husband in bed with a gyrfalcon, to a heart-breaking race to save her young peregrine from attack by a wild hawk, Cowan’s life is a constant, ever-changing adventure. Cowan’s birds have immersed her so much into their world that she has found herself courted by a Goshawk and bossed about by a Harris’ Hawk. The book carries her readers along, so they, too, meet hawks and falcons in ways they never imagined possible.
she begged, I’m just a mammal. Everything I know comes from watching other faces. But here’s this hawk whose face doesn’t move. How can I understand her? And Gaia said, I made that face a long time ago, when nothing like you was anywhere. Why should I care if you don’t understand her? So Liz raised her arm and Fire took it as a signal. She lifted her wings and flew to a tree, and Liz took another dead chick from her pocket. Then she turned her back, held up her arm, and Fire slid down the sky
bright red cardinals, yellow finches, and all sorts of other highly colored but badly carved birds. Injun immediately got sharp set again. His eyes were riveted on the cardinal, but he would have been happy to jump on any one of the man’s carvings. The carver was thrilled. His carving was so good, even the hawk was fooled, I heard him telling everyone. I escaped and headed out for the field. “Injun, you have no taste at all,” I muttered as soon as I was out of earshot. Injun surprised me in
offer my glove which held the best and favorite part of the dinner, a quail breast. This would bring him jumping to the glove. As N-Z fed on the glove, I would reach down quietly and with utmost discretion remove the lure to the game pocket of my vest. The unwritten contract between a falconer and a falcon is that the human will never steal food or the lure. Taking either before a raptor has given it up constitutes (to the raptor) a theft of the greatest proportions. Day after day N-Z and I
discreetly remove their kill without having them wonder where the lovely duck, chukar, or pheasant went. I know there is a great deal of truth in this. The effectiveness of making in when done right and the use of hoods are proof positive, but to me this is incongruous with a raptor’s ability to recall a perching spot visited once and long ago. I have been taught never to try to take something the raptor still has in his talons. The raptor’s nervous system triggers an involuntary reflex of
to be loyal to the lure and still was too new at the process of flying free to follow the definition of “peregrinate,” which means “to wander.” I held out my arm, she roused and then cast off into the air, gaining height by flying in tight circles. Around and around, using the knoll as her center point, she rose higher in the sky. I flew her until I was satisfied she had had enough and pulled out the lure to call her down. Just before I swung the signal for her return, I glanced over at my