The Sport of Kings

FalconryHere’s a program from our archives.For thousands of years, it was one of the chief pastimes of royalty, and in some places, this sport of kings is still practiced today. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. In falconry, trained birds of prey are used to hunt. For Pulse of the Planet listener Dan Chicciny, the real thrill of this ancient sport comes from watching these remarkable birds in action. We’re listening to the sounds of a peregrine falcon.ambience: Peregrine falcon”The exciting thing about falcons is the high-speed chases and the incredible heights that they’ll achieve. They’ll go up to several thousand feet on a really good day. The bird basically becomes a speck in a blue sky. And when you’re out flushing quarry, you’ll have a large falcon, such as a peregrine or a gyrfalcon coming down at anywhere from a hundred and fifty to two hundred miles an hour, as you’re flushing the quarry, which may be ducks off a pond or pheasants in front of a pointing dog, such as a pointer or an English setter. They’re coming down so fast that you can hear the wind rushing through their feathers or their wings, as they’re coming down in pursuit of the quarry. It actually kind of sounds like bacon sizzling on a hot griddle, it’s just a loud rushing sound, it goes (imitates), and then you’ll hear a big loud snap when they hit the quarry. So the adrenaline rush is pretty incredible. What happens is, we’re basically just getting an opportunity to see something on a fairly regular basis during the hunting season that most naturalists would be lucky to see once in a lifetime.” Several hundred falconers will be convening this week at the annual meeting of the North American Falconers’ Association. You’ve been listening to a program from our archives. Check out our website, pulseplanet.com for a link to my latest project – it’s a novel. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

The Sport of Kings

A handful of hunters still practice the ancient sport of kings and they're meeting this week.
Air Date:12/02/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

FalconryHere's a program from our archives.For thousands of years, it was one of the chief pastimes of royalty, and in some places, this sport of kings is still practiced today. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. In falconry, trained birds of prey are used to hunt. For Pulse of the Planet listener Dan Chicciny, the real thrill of this ancient sport comes from watching these remarkable birds in action. We're listening to the sounds of a peregrine falcon.ambience: Peregrine falcon"The exciting thing about falcons is the high-speed chases and the incredible heights that they'll achieve. They'll go up to several thousand feet on a really good day. The bird basically becomes a speck in a blue sky. And when you're out flushing quarry, you'll have a large falcon, such as a peregrine or a gyrfalcon coming down at anywhere from a hundred and fifty to two hundred miles an hour, as you're flushing the quarry, which may be ducks off a pond or pheasants in front of a pointing dog, such as a pointer or an English setter. They're coming down so fast that you can hear the wind rushing through their feathers or their wings, as they're coming down in pursuit of the quarry. It actually kind of sounds like bacon sizzling on a hot griddle, it's just a loud rushing sound, it goes (imitates), and then you'll hear a big loud snap when they hit the quarry. So the adrenaline rush is pretty incredible. What happens is, we're basically just getting an opportunity to see something on a fairly regular basis during the hunting season that most naturalists would be lucky to see once in a lifetime." Several hundred falconers will be convening this week at the annual meeting of the North American Falconers' Association. You've been listening to a program from our archives. Check out our website, pulseplanet.com for a link to my latest project - it's a novel. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.