Friday, March 4, 2011

Know Your Falcons!

Obviously, falcons in some facet play a big part in my novels (see novel title in posts below). While the time-honored sport of hunting with falcons is mentioned in my story, the characters get into too much trouble to actually devote any scene-time to this noble way of catching one's dinner. Still, it pays to do one's research. Better to be armed with too much information than not enough. So, the next time you take your falcon out a-hunting, you'll want to take along the following:
(this gorgeous sketch is from "Knights"
by Julek Heller and Deirdre Headon, copyright 1982)

Not depicted:
1. "Mews," little buildings where your falcons live
2. Perch, or "sedille" where your falcon will rest when it's not flying or sitting on your arm

Interesting Tid-Bits:
-Only female birds were used in hunting, and only females were called "falcons" while males (smaller and rarely hunted with) were called "tiercels."
-Different sized breed of raptors were used to catch different sized quarry.
-If your falcon fails to catch its prey, you may feed it unsalted cheese or scrambled eggs instead of raw meat as a reward for a good attempt. (I'm guessing you'll want to make a good campfire in the meadow and tote along your scullery staff to cook your bird up some eggs in such a case)
- If your falcon escapes, then is found but not returned (good hunting falcons are hard to come by, after all), or if your bird is stolen outright (some people just don't have the patience to train their own), you may exact a severe penalty on the perpetrator: the falcon is allowed to eat six ounces of flesh from the thief's breast. (You can't make up this stuff, folks!)

So, my question is: What research did you feel was required for your story, but never actually came into play?

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