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© Copyright Alentejo Villas 2017

FALCONRY

Falconry is the art of hunting game in its natural habitat by means of a trained bird of prey. This ancient hunting technique is practiced in more than forty countries.

 

The most famous Portuguese treatise on falconry, A Arte da Caça de Altanaria (roughly The Art of Hunting From Above), published in 1616, was written by Diogo Fernandes Ferreira, master falconer of the equipage of Dom António, Prior of Crato, who was a great lover of hawking, in fact the sole hunting method allowed among the members of the Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem.

 

Together with the team of experienced falconers from Falcoaria-Cetraria Lda., we have taken up the challenge of bringing the art of falconry back to Crato.

In order that guests of the House of the Birds may become acquainted with this art of hunting, one of the oldest and most aristocratic in the world, our falconers will come in situ to teach them the basic skills and techniques of handling and flying these magnificent birds of prey. Equipped with a falconer’s glove, boots and a suitable jacket, our guests will then be ready to proceed to the nearby hunting ground, where they can discover, as active participants, the close relationship between man and bird of prey, at one with nature.

 

What a wonderful way of enjoying the Alentejo countryside!

Portuguese falconry was classified as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on the 1st of December of 2016

DISCOVERING THE ART OF HUNTING IN FLIGHT – 2 DAYS

After learning the basic skills and techniques of falconry, our guests may choose to participate in a hunting session in a field near Crato, during which, attended by Aya the hunting dog, they will fly Harris eagles and goshawks at game in season. Participants must have a valid hunting license.

Participants should be in good physical shape, since they will have to walk on uneven ground for at least two hours each morning.

Hunting season dates for small game are:

  • Partridges – from 1st October to 31st January

  • Quails – from 1st September to 30th November

  • Hares and Rabbits – from 1st September to 31st December

MIN 4 PERS / MAX 6 PERS

400 € per person

INTRODUCTION TO FALCONRY – 2 DAYS

If they so desire, our guests can choose to learn the basic techniques of falconry, with handling of the birds and hawk walking through the fields, which will provide them with an opportunity to appreciate the different facets of this art, without doing any actual hunting.

Suitable for ages 10 and over. An ideal familial activity.

 

Hawk walking: a bird of prey follows the apprentices in free flight. While they walk, they call it regularly to their fists, attracting it with a small reward.

MIN 4 PERS / MAX 6 PERS

400 € per person

BASIC TECHNIQUES

  • Definition of high flight and low flight – birds used in each of them

  • Training and its rules: for hawks and for eagles

  • Weighing: chamber, flight and hunting weights

  • Imping or the process of repairing a feather of a bird of prey

  • Beak coping

  • The making of aylmeris, bewits and anklets

  • Basic care

  • Tracking – transmitters, receivers

  • Lure, fly to the fist, and fist to fist training

Participants should come prepared, wearing comfortable clothes, since they will spend a considerable time outside with the birds.

Gloves and boots will be made available to guests at the House of the Birds.

 

Even though the weather in the Alentejo – except during the summer, when it is very hot – is predominantly mild, weather conditions (such as fog, heavy rain or strong winds) may occur which prevent the birds from flying. In such cases the activity will have to be postponed.

 

There will be no falconry courses during the summer months.