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Book Review: Falconry & Hawking by Phillip Glasier Part I

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When I began with falconry I didn’t have access to birds for longer periods of time. Currently confined to the odd weekend trip, I of course did a ton of research on everything about raptorials and got my hands on as many books as I could find.

Acquiring Phillip Glasier’s Falconry and Hawking came a while later, after I had grown frustrated trying my best to thoroughly read King Frederick II’s The Art of Falconry. Looking back, I should definitely have had both books at the same time and if you were to stop reading now, at least you have both book titles in your mind.


Falconry is an ancient art, and the dignity and ethics behind the sport are encapsulated in Frederick II’s work. However, if time is of the essence and knowledge is needed quickly, Glasier’s book is the way to go.

Reading about Falconry has helped me understand just how simple or complicated the exact same task can be. For example feeding, one book will recommend soaked bits of beef to help the falcon feel full but not gain weight, and you’d find a master falconer adamantly arguing the ethics and health concerns of doing so.

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Falconry & Hawking encompasses a lot of practices, from the basics of manning to handling breeding pairs. Glasier discusses not only what he practices himself, but what others do successfully as well. The photographs help for skipping through the book to find reference points, and they’re so gorgeous.

Glasier is British and Falconry is far more popular in the UK and primarily for hunting. Glasier does attempt to explicate some things from the North American perspective, such as types of quarry and indigenous raptors. I particularly loved his blurb about the Cooper’s Hawk (native to NA but not found in UK), he longed to try one and has heard they’re great!

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I’ll admit I haven’t finished reading it, and have a lot of the how to’s and the depictions of flying to the lure and the finer points of hunting. His real strength is also helping the beginner understand the huge differences between different birds of prey. How they fly and hunt and behave. How some have defied their reputations with him in personal experience, and how some are simply useless unless the extra time is taken with them. The frame of mind of the falconer is entirely dissected in this book, and is a mainstay for the falconry community.

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Erin Jardine