on 18 May 2010
This book offers a brilliant all round guide to hawking in a well laid out and easy to read fashion. Excellent step by step guides and supporting images. I have been a falconer for many years now and reading this book has taught me new things, as well as explaining the basics in a logical manner, much better than any book I have read to date. The author is clearly very experienced as both a teacher and a falconer. A must read read for all falconers and one of the best books for beginners available.
on 5 April 2010
The author is obviously very knowledgeable and experienced. This book is extremely well researched, and presented in a very readable fashion. It contains a vast amount of information that the novice and experienced would find useful. Being a falconer myself I read many such books and find this one to be most informative and a pleasure to read.
on 24 July 2010
James McKay is the director of the National Falconry School, based at the Honeybank Centre in Ashover, just outside the Peak District. He is a zoologist and lecturer as well as a falconer and animal trainer. In this book he offers a comprehensive guide to basic hawk care, falconry and its related sport, ferreting. Beginning with a brief history of falconry, he goes on to lay out everything a novice needs to know before acquiring their first bird.
The various equipment necessary for keeping a hawk is discussed, including instructions for building suitable housing and a run-down of the equipment needed to monitor a hawk on a daily basis, as well as advice on choosing vital items such as hoods, perches and swivels. There is information on selecting a bird, outlining the strengths, weaknesses and capabilities of each species, and a very comprehensive guide to manning and training. On top of all this the author offers guidance on how to maintain a bird's health, including nutrition, weight management and simple first aid, and everything the falconer needs to consider before beginning a breeding program. There is also a section devoted to the care and use of ferrets to aid rabbiting excursions (the author has written several books on ferreting which would make ideal companion volumes for a sporting enthusiast). The glossary proved very useful in clarifying certain terms and concepts, providing a handy reference point, and the bibliography and contacts list provide a valuable source of further information.
This is a book that should be on the shelves of any eager beginner and interested enthusiast, as well as being a source of information and reference to more experienced falconers. My only quibble with the book is that I would have liked more photographs - for example, showing various kinds of equipment alongside each other to show the differences (eg. flight vs. mews jesses, various lures and dummy bunnies), providing greater clarity for a complete novice like me! All in all, though, I learned an awful lot about falconry from this book, both in terms of the enormous commitment and potential pitfalls involved, and in terms of the pleasure and satisfaction a well-trained hawk can bring. Highly recommended.