The sport of falconry is the oldest form of team hunting between humans and animals. Although falconry is believed to have originated in China, the first recorded evidence of falconry appears in paintings from Persia made 4,000 years ago.
Popular in the Middle Ages, hunting with birds of prey is a sport still enjoyed today. European nobles had little notion as to why the hawk would willingly hunt at their side. These details were left to their falconer. But, today the modern falconer must be able to trap, train and provide care for their own hawks.
Today the average falconer may spend two years training a raptor before it is ready to hunt. Training is an ongoing process that continues throughout the bird's life span. For every hour spent in the field there are a hundred hours spent in the care and training of the hawk.
Successful hunting is not the major thrust of falconry. The average hawk takes 30 to 50 flights before it catches anything. The real thrill of hunting with a raptor is watching its magnificent flight and enjoying time in the outdoors.