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Friday, 16 January 2015


The word "falcon" is from the Latin "falx," meaning "curved blade, pruning hook, sickle, war-scythe."

Hawking was a sport indulged in by the ladies and the squires as well as by the knights during the Middle Ages. Almost every lady had her own hawk or falcon which when unhooded was trained to rise into the air and attack game birds.

Often during the festivities of a medieval tournament a large pie was baked and live birds concealed inside. Then in the great hall the pie was opened, the birds flew about, and the falcons were loosed at them. This was considered great sport and has been immortalized in the nursery rhyme:

    Sing a song of sixpence, pocket full of rye,
    Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie;
    When the pie was opened, the birds began
     to sing;
    Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before a king.

King Richard I of England took his birds with him on the Crusades. When he was captured part of his ransom was two white Gyrfalcons.

The peregrine falcon became the first animal listed as an endangered species in the United States  in the late 1970's. By 1975, peregrine falcons had been reduced to 324 pairs in the US, primarily as a result of DDT, a widely used pesticide. DDT was banned by the US in 1972 and efforts to breed and train peregrine falcons in captivity to later release to the wild were effective. In 1999, the peregrine falcon was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species list.

Despite their looks, falcons are more closely related to parrots than they are to hawks and eagles.

New York City is an ideal habitat for Peregrine falcons. With abundant food year round, the city boasts the highest concentration of the birds on the planet.

Falcons on the barren Moroccan island of Mogador catch small birds, then pluck out their flight and tail feathers and stuff them in crevasses in the rock to eat later.

Most falcons eat small mammals that they hunt using eyesight, although some species hunt other birds, which they take in flight.

Peregrine falcons attack like missiles: using the same steering rules, and diving down at extreme speed to gain control. All this to capture its highly agile and wildly maneuvering prey.

The peregrine falcon dives at more than 215 miles an hour making it the fastest animal on the planet.

The fastest recorded diving bird in the world was Frightful, a USA-based peregrine falcon, which was recorded doing 242 miles per hour while diving from three miles in the air at the age of six in 2005. To record the feat, a computer chip was attached to her tail feathers.

The falcon is the national bird of Kuwait.

Qatar Airways allows you to keep your falcon in the plane cabin, provided that there aren't already six falcons on board.

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