Passionate falconer seeks to fly high in contest - GulfToday

Passionate falconer seeks to fly high in contest


Abdullah, a resident of Dubai, is a passionate falconer.

Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter

Scores of residents from different parts of the country have been taking measures to revive their culture of falconry. The tradition of breeding and training falcons has been in the blood of locals. Communities in the region, as part of either individual or commercial initiatives, keep falcons as a symbol of pride and status and, most importantly, for hunting.

Abdullah, a resident of Dubai, is one such falconer. He has been in the business of breeding and training falcons for over two decades after a friend gifted him a young falcon. He spoke about his passion on the sidelines of the ongoing Fazza Championship for Falconry organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) in Al Ruwayyah desert area.

“We knew from day one that our elders had falcons for hunting and as time passed by the tradition of breeding falcons was disappearing. But there were many individuals who were passionate about reviving this. They started breeding and training falcons through setting up farms and started forming groups of like-minded residents in different parts of the UAE. I was lucky to have friends who devoted their lives to this and one of them had gifted me a falcon in 2002. With the support of my friends' group we trained our falcons and started participating in various hunting competitions in the UAE and abroad, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and other countries," he said.

Being active falconers, Abdullah along with his brother and friends started participating in local events and gained attention. “I have been taking part in the Fazza Championship of Falconry being organised by HHC since its inception and on many occasions our falcons secured top positions. This year in the general public category we are making good progress and hopefully will be in top positions,” he pointed.

Responding to a question related to the breed of a falcon, he said, "There are many pure breeds farming in the UAE but many farm owners also have falcons of mixed breed. We buy one trusting the farmer and the bloodline of the breed. After that we start training and evaluate it in small events. If one shows good signs we bring them into competitions like falconry championships. There are varieties of falcons available locally starting at Dhs20,000 for a young falcon and reaching up to Dhs100,000 depending on the breed,” he added.

Abdullah owns four falcons while his group of friends have around 25 birds of different breeds. They participate in various competitions not only in the UAE but all over the region as well to visit different countries for hunting with these birds.

“I learned the skills of training a falcon for hunting and competitions from my friends. These days many youngsters from all over the country are seeking the help of elders and experts to be falconers. Besides keeping alive this tradition they are also interested in competitions like annual events being organised by the HHC,” he said.

With more and more people from youngsters to elders turning falcon enthusiasts, the tradition of falconry is gaining gravitas. With the contests organised by the Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed’s heritage centre the base for a bright future in this realm is being consolidated.

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