Next up under the customer spotlight is Lauren McGough. Many of you will know of or will have read about Lauren and her adventures with Eagles. Lauren has been using our anklets on her Eagles for a few years now so we couldn't miss the opportunity to involve her in our customer spotlight series. Below is an interesting interview where Lauren shares with us her ambitions and her journey into the Falconry world. What a fantastic read, enjoy!
Q. How did you start your Falconry journey?
A. I believe that we're born falconers, we just don't know it until some triggering event. For me, that was reading Stephen Bodio's A Rage for Falcons in my school library when I was 14. From then on, I just knew I had to become a falconer.
Q. What was your first bird?
A. I trapped my first falconry bird, a passage female red-tailed hawk, when I was fourteen in Oklahoma. I have very fond memories of getting off the school bus, picking her up from the mew, and then heading out to chase rabbits together. I flew her for five seasons before releasing her back to the wild when I decided to study abroad.
Q. What is your favourite bird to fly and why?
A. Hands down, the golden eagle. Several kilos of power and sinew, they'll leave your glove with impressive speed, or soar overhead for hours at a time. I've been flying eagles for 15 years, and they still give me butterflies in my stomach as I head out to the field. They are the perfect match for hares; both have evolved to outwit and outmaneuver one another, and I am continually left surprised at both of their acrobatics.
Q. What is the most memorable moment you have experienced in Falconry so far?
A. There have been so many! The firsts really loom large in my mind. Every time a new eagle catches its first hare, it blows me away. In the US I fly a lot of rehab goldens, and to watch them start to pursue jackrabbits, and go from being completely outmatched to slowly starting to figure out how to counter the jackrabbit's maneuvers is very cool. When it culminates in that first catch, and you can see things start to click into place in that eagle's mind, that's incredibly rewarding.
Q. What part of Falconry do you most enjoy and why?
A. I'm not much of an animal trainer, but once I've really got a good hunting relationship with an eagle, I love going out as a well-oiled machine. If I'm flying off the fist, an eagle that doesn't bate and is primed for the next slip, and if I'm soaring, an eagle that hangs right overhead awaiting a hare, and I have no worry of it drifting away. All my focus is on orchestrating that next flight and enjoying the moments when it happens. That's my favorite part of falconry.
Q. What is your dream bird to fly and why?
A. Golden eagles are my dream falconry bird - we're so lucky to have them. I could fly goldens for the rest of my life and would never get bored. I've been fortunate to fly goldens in many different parts of the world, and their ability to excel on different terrain, weather and quarry blows my mind.
Q. For those new to Falconry or thinking about getting started, what would be your most valuable advice?
A. Go out hawking with as many falconers as you can, especially those that are doing the kind of falconry you envision yourself doing. So much of falconry can't be gleaned from a book, or told, it has to be experienced. That's the best start you can give yourself.
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