Fierce and majestic – the falcon has played a significant part in the rich Arab history and culture. Not only that, it’s also the UAE’s national bird; it symbolizes courage, strong will and determination, and of course, grace and pride. Here are some facts about falconry in the UAE.
Falconry is one of the country’s oldest and more enduring traditions
Before the days of oil, before the UAE was formed, sheikhs from the Bedouin tribes would tour their desert lands.
Today, falconry is pure sport with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the forefront
In 2003, his falcon took down a deer several times its own weight, and reported lifted it off the ground.
To become a falconer, you need to acquire a falcon, name it, then spend the first few weeks of training with your falcon at all times
The capture and training of falcons requires a vast amount of skill, bravery, and patience. Falconry can be dangerous, but that’s part of what makes it so alluring.
The largest and most popular among the series of falconry championships is the Fazza Championship for Falconry
Children as young as four-years-old could be seen bucking up the participants in championships such as the Fazza Championship for Falconry
There are two types of falcons in the UAE, the saker and the peregrine
In 2006, Dubai opened the National Falcon and Heritage Sports Centre in Nad Al Sheba
The centre provides a place where falconers, and falcon breeders can buy and sell their birds of prey and other related accessories of the sport, such as: books, lures, hoods, and dietary supplements.
In recent years, the UAE has established strict laws to ensure that falcons are treated properly
Falcons need to be returned to the wild at the end of each hunting season to prevent the birds from becoming too domesticated. And of course, all the falcons are given a thorough check up to verify that they are healthy enough to reenter the wild.
WE SAID THIS: Although falconry now is practiced mostly as a sport, it is one of the most treasured traditions that the UAE aims to keep for future generations.