Just a wee bit of art work that I did for this album. The hawk is a Harris's Hawk which is what I had hoped to trap one of this past fall. As luck would have it, I did not, but I now have Tara, a lovely Red-Tail hawk.
Most hawks do not live past their second year - not because they have short life spans but because of all of the natural predators and hazards in the wild, including man. 3 out of 4 die young. Falconry allows for the trapping of a first year hawk or falcon only (except for kestrels) as these are the most vulnerable. This allows us to make sure that at least a few raptors are successful in reaching full maturity. Many falconers release their falcons or hawks after one or two years to add to the breeding stock in the wild. Others may keep their falcon or hawk for several years if it is a good hunter, after all, falconry is a sport and an art, and when one gets an above average hunter one is permitted to reap that reward.
It is not an easy road to become a falconer. Each state has its own regulations based upon Federal Regulations. Some states do not permit falconry at all. In Texas I had to first find a sponsor who had to be a general or master falconer, buy books to study, pass a state falconry examination, design and build my mews (hawk house), have my mews and falconry equipment pass a state inspection, apply for and receive my state falconry permit, trap my hawk, register it with the Federal government and then train it; however, this was not all. In addition I had to get both a Housing Association permit and a city building permit for my hawk house and pass a city inspecition for an hurricane zone 2 building. All of this took me some 10 months. Then there is training, etc.. One has to be dedicated to falconry to do this and have the time which can make for a jealous wife on occasion.