Writings by Tim Girvin
Kazakhs

When I was young I aspired to be a falconer. I had an opportunity to handle predatory birds for the Falconry Association where I grew up. My bird was a Peregrine Falcon-then on the Endangered Species list, a bird, at that time, which was the rarest of the rare. Carrying a bird of this magnificence was a powerful experience, which I shall never forget.

My brother, Matt, recently returned from Mongolia where he is involved with the Unicef organization for the relief of children. He traveled out to the Kazakh homeland and met a falconer of a different type. This man used his bird to capture animals to trade fur for money, specifically to be used for clothing. His bird however, was a Golden Eagle. This bird also lives in Washington state, I also carried a Golden when I was young; but this bird is huge by comparison to the Peregrine. Please see the photographs Matt took of his experience with this Falconer, his bird and his home. An article from the National Geographic is also left on my light table referencing this practice. For the squeamish, please be also advised that Matt gave me a gift of a fox hide, caught by the Falconer, also resting on the light table.

Best to you, this Monday.

TSG

(Originally sent: Monday, October 11, 1999)

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