Sunday, May 31, 2009

American kestrels

Since I did some time on the couch this week, I had the pleasure of picking up our Matthew Mullenix's American Kestrels in Modern Falconry. I didn't put it down until I had read it from cover to cover - it's simply that great a read for kestrel fans like me. The fact that it's a guide for the training and care of kestrels only provided additional insight into kestrel particulars for me, a falconry observer rather than participant. Highly recommended.


Matt Mullenix said...

Cat, thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

Our girls loved "Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs." Typically, Maggie was into the cute parts and B intrigued by the possibility of a dog/coyote dust up.


Gregg Barrow said...

Among my many meatball theories; thoughts and ideas gathered from trainers whose experience and wisdom far exceed my own, I like to say “there is a common thread that runs through all training”.
Bob Wehle, Earl Crangle, Tommy Dorrance and Ray Hunt are just a few that I give credit to when waxing eloquent with my own personal thoughts on training.

With dogs and horses, even though they are predator and prey, the similarities are evident (at least for me) but I struggled severely when it came to the birds of prey.
Matt’s book, I’ve read it twice and will read it again before next season, provided a lot of wisdom and insight where raptors are concerned and it added greatly to my training foundation and list of kidnapped quotes.

It’s a great book that gets better with the second (and third) reading. Its methods and theories have been walked out and proven by Matt and the many other Kestrel cultists that have followed his guidance and direction. Beyond this, it provides insight into the mind of a thoughtful and dedicated trainer

My sponsor is Jim Ince, an exceptional falconer in any mans company and good friend to Matt. I was talking to him about some issues I was having with my Red-tail and mentioned that I had spoken with Matt regarding some of the same issues. Jim’s comment was “go with Matt, the man can fly anything!”

High praise indeed!

Matt Mullenix said...

Gregg that was a nice note from you and a humbling quote from Jim, who is one of my falconry heroes. But know that Jim has not been privy to my many failures---no way I would bring some wreck of a hawk to his place!

I'd like to say about American Kestrels (the book) that it is primarily a "proof of concept." It reveals no mysteries of hawk training; but rather provides varifyable evidence that kestrels can be effective hunting partners.

This is not news today. And it was already well known among some falconers when I wrote the first draft 12 years ago. But in 2009 the state of the art in kestrel falconry has really broken every barrier and exceeded the basic competencies demonstrated in my book.

I haven't flown a kestrel since my kids were born in 2000 and my birds banished to the back yard. But as my girls get older, I hope things will come back around and that we might again have a little hawk in the house.

If that happens, there will be any number of avante garde kestrel falconers I can call and lean on for advice. And some of them, I know, were not even practicing falconers when American Kestrels was first published! :-)

I think that's great.