Falconers show their birds to the public
Fairbanks falconers gave a public demonstration at Creamers Field on Saturday to help teach people about falconry. They showed how they train them, exercise them, and what they feed them.
Falconer Randall Compton said that, “Falconry is hunting wild quarry with a trained raptor."
Quarry is what falconers call the game they hunt. Humans have used birds of prey to hunt their quarry for thousands of years.
They train and groom the birds so they are able to successfully kill their prey but Compton said the birds aren't pets.
"I think the best way that Alaskans would understand it is it's like dog mushing.”
The falconers demonstrated how they train the birds to come when they blow a whistle and then demonstrated an exercise they do to build the bird’s muscle.
Compton has been doing falconry since 1969 and says he loves to watch the birds.
“You can't get [closer to them], than flying and hunting with them and watching everything they do," Compton said.
It isn’t just humans that enjoy the sport. The falcons love to hunt.
"They anticipate, like a hunting dog, when you are going to go hunting, they get excited,” Compton said. “They know when they are in the car, when you take them out in the field or they hear the hunting dogs, they know they are going to fly, they know they are going to hunt. So they love to do it."
They did the demo to help the public learn more about the sport.
"For people to know what we are doing, and when they see us out here flying falcons, and they are catching ducks and things like that. It's important that they know what we are up to," Compton said.
People who are interested in falconry can talk to the Department of Fish and Game to learn about getting their license. Compton said new falconers need to find a sponsor who they can do their apprenticeship under.