A historic journey of falconry

The falcon has long been part of the United Arab Emirates cultural heritage

The falcon has long been part of the United Arab Emirates cultural heritage and was once an integral part of desert life. Today falconry is practiced purely as a sport and the skill of a falconer is still highly esteemed. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara?s expert falconer, Naseer Muhammad Abdul Latif is all set to show off his skills as he takes guests on a historic journey of falconry that started over two millenniums ago.

The training of a falcon has not changed for centuries ? a leather hood is used to cover the falcon?s eyes and the bird is fed only small portions. The falconer names his new bird in the first few weeks and remains with the bird constantly so he gets comfortable with his owner.

Latif has had a passion for birds from a young age when he used to care for his brother?s pigeons and parrots at home. While working on a farm, he helped feed the local falcons and started training them during his free time. When the farm owner saw his interest and enthusiasm around the birds, he offered him the opportunity to go through proper training to become a connoisseur falconer.

Latif explains, ?Falcons are wild, fast and aggressive birds so finding the right balance between patience, time and effort can sometimes be complex during training. For example, during the initial few weeks if I release the bird and push him to fly while he is not hungry, chances are he might not come back to me, so training requires a great level of expertise and understanding to master the bird.?

Exercising such a free creature often turns into an adventure in itself, and Latif has a lot of stories to share on the subject, ?During the early stages of my training, I had to walk for many kilometres in the sand dunes to find the falcon that I had just released, and try to convince him to come back to me. Sometimes, you just have to accept that he won?t come back, that?s one of the risks.?

However, when Latif watches his falcons soar before guests at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, showcasing their incredible speed of 320 kilometres per hour and leaving the viewers in awe.

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First published on: 07-10-2014 at 17:56 IST