Rusty Scarborough, falconer and Park Manager at Caddo Parish’s Walter & Jacobs Memorial Nature Park, visited Los Adaes State Historic Site Saturday, June 16th. He was joined by his hunting partner Vulcan, a Red Tailed Hawk, in giving a presentation on falconry and birds of prey to an audience of around 35 young people, including Provencal’s Cub Scout Pack 20,
Falconry is a form of hunting that has been around for thousands of years, being referenced in writings from Mesopotamia. It was also practiced in China, India and Europe throughout the ages. Scarborough talked about the biology of birds of prey, how they are trained for falconry and gave lots of interesting facts about how the birds hunt and live. He also spoke about the process of becoming a falconer. Because the birds are covered under federal laws protecting migratory birds, it is illegal to have one in your possession or to hunt or trap them It is also illegal to possess any feathers or other parts of the birds. In order to become a falconer, one must pass a written test and obtain a special license from the state. At that time, the person becomes an apprentice falconer and is allowed to possess one bird. As one progresses in the sport, the license can be upgraded to master falconer which allows the possession of more birds.
Falconry is,by far, the most heavily regulated form of hunting in the country. It also requires a significant investment in education, practice and training. The presentation ended with Vulcan coming out of his box to meet his new friends. The children were also able to borrow binoculars to spot some of the wildlife living at the site and to draw what they saw.
This presentation was sponsored by the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc.