Saker Falcon~


at 88 mph!

I duck,

he nails his prize,

and promptly mantles so I won’t steal it.

Saker Falcons have been falconry birds for 1000’s of years.

They are an endangered species, native across Central Europe to China.

This is Katie Pnewski, a brilliant and comitted bird trainer,

and bird lover, who works at Avian Behavior International,

a conservation and bird advocacy organization near The Holler in rural Southern California.

I spent an incredible day here today, and will be introducing you to more of their amazing birds and conservation efforts in my next posts. For more on this worthwhile organization see:

Cheers to you from the phenomenal Saker Falcon and his devoted human~

257 thoughts on “Saker Falcon~

    1. They have so many species of super happy, friendly and outgoing birds. I was so impressed. They free their macaws all over the back country with no trackers and they always choose to come back დ

    1. It was an incredible day! They free fly a variety of macaws all over the back country. No monitors, nothing. The birds always come back because they love their home დ

  1. Despite that I’ve never had the chance to follow up on what I learn from your posts about great spots to visit in Southern California, I continue to enjoy your photographyβ€” and love what you post about. That Saker Falcon is one handsome dude.

  2. What a handsome bird that is! The handler is quite impressive too. It looks quite warm there. We just had snow yesterday and below freezing temps. Looking forward to seeing more beautiful birds. You do an amazing job of photographing them.

    1. Katie is impressive. You can tell she loves what she does. It is just getting close to freezing here now at night, but it warms up during the day to mid-60’s. Stay warm Marlene & thank you my friend დ

  3. Ahh I’ve really enjoyed this episode of the Lord of the Wings. Lol! Can’t help falcon in love with these amazing pics.

  4. Such a beautiful bird Cindy, sad to know they are endangered like that. But your lovely pictures will spread the word until this and the next generation comes through and removes those things that endanger them. Especially those careless humans πŸ˜€β€οΈπŸ™πŸ½

    1. Aww, thank you Liz. I did duck, but not in time, the bird was far too fast for my reflexes, and far too skilled to ever hit me! I didn’t need to duck. It was just reflexive, which is pretty amazing when you think about it დ

  5. Wow, what an experience that must have been. A beautiful bird, so glad that there are folks that are trying to preserve endangered species, trying to right humanity’s wrongs. πŸ¦…

    1. It was simply incredible to experience that speed close up. We have peregrine falcon’s at The Holler that dive at over 180 mph. But Saker’s can self propel fly at up to 93 mph, and dive at 200 mph! Mind boggling დ

  6. Pingback: Saker Falcon~ β€” (don’t miss a single frame of this amazing post from Cindy) | Rethinking Life

  7. Dear Cindy
    During the middle ages the must-do training for nobility was training a falcon for hunting.
    Famous was the love-poem by von KΓΌrenberg “Ich zoch mir einen valken mere dann ein jar” in which the falcon is the symbol for the lover. This symbolism that a woman trains her lover in the art of love and then he leaves her you find often in the poetry of the ministrels after the mid 12th c.
    Have a happy weekend
    The Fab Four of Cley
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  8. Cindy, you took gorgeous pics of this magnificent bird!
    Too sad we need these wonderful people to take care of our disappearing animals.
    What have we done?

  9. Wow, he’s gorgeous! And his trainer seems to respect his ability while getting him to do what he does best. Hmm, I wonder if she’s as capable with a little Monkey-hooligan???

    1. She would be as good. She has a remarkable rapport with animals and is a certified animal trainer. They basically have a private zoo where the animals are set free to roam and return. Amazing დ

    1. I hope you do visit. I was amazed to watch her macaws free fly over the backcountry which they do daily with no tracking. Sometimes they stay away all day, but they always return. Amazing to witness დ

  10. There aren’t too many places where you can learn falconry. The closest is the Air Force Academy with the falcons, peregrines. A couple of times, a falcon or two didn’t come back after doing their demonstration. The most famous was a falcon that didn’t come back after a fly at halftime of an Air Force – Northwestern football game. The falcon found a rich supply of rock pigeons to keep him. Air Force left their most experienced falconer to bring him home. After a month on the loose, they got him retrieved. He still had plenty of pigeons to feast on.

    1. That is incredible! Hilary, the director of Avian Behavior Int’l, lets her macaws free fly all over the backcountry with no trackers. Sometimes they stay away for hours but they always come back which is remarkable and was quite a sight to see. She has happy critters დ

  11. OMG, Cindy! Just incredible!!!
    Magnificent bird – awesome woman in charge.
    Good for her – good for you for sharing with us. I needed to see this natural phenomenon this weekend to be reminded of all we need to protect and conserve.

    1. Yes. Exactly. I went for the birds, and then I saw the women who run the place. Left such a powerful impression on me. There is so much to protect in this world of ours. Thank you Sheila for knowing and caring დდ

  12. fantastic!


  13. Pingback: Saker Falcon~ – charles french words reading and writing

    1. Thank you John. Those shows are amazing, but this was different as it was just my husband and I and we got to interact personally with all the birds and spend lots of time. It was quite unusual as it is a family run farm, so it was more personal, not a show but a visit დ

  14. With USAFA graduates in the family, and another in his 2’nd year at this time, we love the Falcons. So enjoy their skills and those of their handlers at half time during football games. But then, my being a Marine Corps alum, Go Navy, Beat Army!!

    1. Yes! I know about the Air Force falconers and their awesome birds. Wonderful. I’ve heard a lot of stories about them over the years. I worked with the Navy and Marines for twenty years. Lovely to meet you & GO Falcons!! დ

      1. Actually, why I asked you. While have been in Mexico, I met a numerous guards with falcons on their arms around the resort. I’ve asked them what is the reason to walk with these birds. The answer was – pest control.

    1. Falcons are such incredible creatures. Falconry is so complex and painstaking. I have found that things you were interested in when younger, return as interests as we get older and have more time to pursue what truly interests us. You might want to check into the book ‘H is for Hawk,’ by Helen MacDonald. If you have any lingering falcon fascination this book will speak to you დ

  15. I’m not sure I haven’t already commented on this, and if I have I won’t apologise, but I’ve just seen these photographs again and they really are absolutely superb. Simply wonderful photographs!

    1. Yes. He flew directly at me. I had no doubt about his skill and trustworthyness. We have falcons at The Holler. I know them when I see them because they are gone before I register it. They are the fastest creatures on earth დ

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