Jade Chen, a Lansdale native and second-year apprentice falconer, is one of a small but growing number of people who are rediscovering an ancient form of hunting, writes Jason Nark for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
She is one of only 204 people in Pennsylvania who are licensed to take part in falconry. This form of hunting is unique because it is the bird instead of the handler who is the hunter.
Falcons and hawks used for falconry are not purchased from a breeder but are usually wild animals that have to be trapped, trained, and cared for by the falconer.
“You drive around, look for birds in open fields or on telephone wires, and you just pull over and throw the trap,” Chen said.
The birds are cared for during the season—usually lasting between late fall to spring—in home enclosures called mews.
After two years as an apprentice, Chen will be become a general falconer and later earn the title of a master. Falconers in the upper ranks can buy birds from licensed breeders or even remove them from nests sometimes.
This process is regulated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Read more about falconry at The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.