A Walk with a Hawk

Family, International, Ireland

What an experience, to have a Harris’s Hawk land on your gloved hand! Or even better, to swoop immediately over your head to capture a bit of quail meat offered by a falconer! We met John of Killarney Falconry at a designated spot along the roadside near Coolcorcoran Bridge then followed him to an area with tall trees on one side and grassy meadow on the other where he introduced us to Meeko. We spent the next hour learning about the history of falconry, the characteristics of the various birds of prey, the roots in falconry of many common phrases, and especially about Meeko and the highly social and intelligent Harris’s Hawks. We all took turns having Meeko swoop in to retrieve food from our gloved hand and capturing slow motion video of the flight. If that wasn’t grand enough, we also got to handle and pet some Barn Owls, Ziggy & Rocco, and some Tawny Owls, Riley & George. From this day forward certain words and phrases such as “man up”, “end of my tether”, “old codger”, “baited breath”, “callow”, “alight” and more will remind us all of a wondrous afternoon in County Kerry.

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