Sunn had a business conference at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia and invited me to come along.  I jumped at the chance.  She signed me up for massage and hot mineral bath spa treatments and I requested Falconry classes.  Sunn knew that I had experience with birds and attempted to sign me up for the advanced class, but they would not let me sign up for that class without taking the beginner class first.  Fortunately, no one else signed up for the class and we were able to cover all of the intermediate course.

Falconry is a sport which involves the use of trained raptors (birds of prey) to hunt or pursue game.  A falconer flies a falcon which hunts other birds.  A austringer flies a hawk which hunts ground game.  Historically, falconry was a popular sport and status symbol among the nobles of medieval Europe and feudal Japan.  The process of raising and training a falcon or hawk requires a great deal of time, money and space.  Falconry has long remained a status symbol, even long after it was practiced falcons and eagles have been depicted in art as a symbol of nobility.

First I handled the Peregrine Falcon, which was absolutely beautiful.  This bird was constantly scanning the woods and sky for prey.  It is very difficult to train a falcon as they can get very far very fast.  Then we took a stroll through the woods with a Harris Hawk.  This bird followed us like a puppy dog.  He would often lag behind by 100 yards, we couldn’t see him, but he could see us.  If I put piece of chicken in my glove, he would immediately come and get it, landing on my hand and eating with a protective posture so that other animals could not see his meal.  The hawk did get a bit spooked by horses that we passed, but the horses were equally scared, perhaps more so.  When we got back, the Hawk would catch meat thrown into the air, land and eat it.  I was also introduced to several other birds including an owl with amazing orange eyes. 

Later in the trip, Sunn got away from work long enough to go for a few miles hike.  I took her by the birds housing and later we ran across some horses.  It was a very enjoyable trip and Sunn treated me to a great adventure.


The value of our life is not solely measured by its length, but also by the depth of our hearts.

And breadth of our experiences.  And indeed the heights that we achieve.