The sport of falconry has roots all the way back in Ancient Egypt, when kings often trained a falcon or hawk to be their noble hunting partners. While there are not as many falconers today as there have been in history, this sport is still alive and well. New falconers have a choice between trapping their own falcon for use or they can buy a falcon from a licensed breeder. A top choice among many new falconers is the peregrine falcon for obvious reasons: these majestic birds are beautiful, fast, and incredibly smart. Is a peregrine the logical choice for a beginner? Here are a few things you need to know as an apprentice falconer.
A peregrine falcon is like the Lamborghini of falcons.
If you think back to when you first got your driver's license, you would probably agree that a Lamborghini was not the best car for you as a new driver. In the sport of falconry, the peregrine is comparable to that luxury sports car: it is very fast, hard to handle, and not always the best choice for a beginner. These birds may be highly desirable because of their speed and their keen ability to hunt, but when you are just starting out it can be better to go with a more conservative falcon that does not have such profound attributes—kind of like a new teen driver should probably get a small four-cylinder car that isn't too fast or fancy.
A peregrine falcon is hard to train.
Falcons in general take a lot of time, patience, and dedication to train. However, when you get a large peregrine falcon with a high prey drive, razor-sharp talons, and an independent nature, you really do have your hands full. Peregrines are more likely to abandon you in the field if you've not had one very long. They don't need you, they know they don't, and they can take months to train to think in any other way. If you have the dedication and patience then a peregrine could work, but you must understand it may not be as simple as it would be with something like an American kestrel or Cooper's hawk.
A peregrine falcon likes to hunt and nest high, which makes things tricky.
Peregrines have a large field of vision, which means when they hunt they soar to high altitudes, and they actually prefer to nest on the tops of mountains or on skyscrapers in city settings. If you bring home a falcon to train, you can expect that the first few times you take the bird into the field it will deviate from you to a really high elevation. For beginners, having the bird they've spent months training stray so far away can be a little unnerving.