This bird of prey is capable of swooping up to 320 km / h. His attacks on ducks are fatal. This hunting technique sees the collaboration between the falconer and the Falcon: the first makes the ducks fly up, the second captures them.
The peregrine falcon is a species of falconid found almost all over the world. It is known for the high speed it can reach when hunting, which is around 320 km / h, making it the fastest in the animal kingdom. The one with the Peregrine Falcon is considered one of the most fascinating and classic hunting techniques of falconry. The preys that can be hunted with this bird are the Mallard, the Garganey, the Shoveler and the Teals.
Experts consider this hunting technique with the Hawk to be very complex, as ducks are very fast birds and are able to repel and dodge attacks. Even if the use of the dog is not essential, it is often forced to make long journeys to reach the areas frequented by ducks, with consequent high fuel costs.
The hunting technique with the Peregrine Falcon is practiced in humid environments, near canals, clear and collected water that attract ducks. The latter, like the Mallard which is the main prey, are resident in Italy but are reached by the double step of the migrants. During the hunting period they are present in large numbers and this can give a certain safety margin when hunting with the Falco. The best time to free our Falco is at sunrise and sunset, while if you use the low flight (Astòre) you can hunt throughout the day.
The training of the Peregrine Falcon, as it happens for all the birds of prey used in hunting, is essential. For this purpose, training / training mallards are used, to teach the young Falco the rudiments of attack. When it is decided to use the Peregrine Falcon on the real game, it is necessary to introduce the hawks close to the opening of the hunting season, in order to exploit the abundance of specimens of young ducks still inexperienced and consequently easy prey.
It will take about an entire hunting season with flights of 2-3 times a week or more, to teach the Hawk the techniques of attacking Ducks. Maximum attention should be paid to the development of the hawks' musculature, in order to allow them to remain in flight for up to 20 minutes before they can initiate an attack. The ideal weight of a Peregrine Falcon must be at least 850 grams.
The hunting area must not consist of too large a body of water, otherwise the ducks will not fly away, and there must be no anthropized areas and / or fences in the hunting area. The hawk will fly away from the hunting area, so as not to alarm the ducks too soon. The falconer with the hawk in waiting flight, must move towards the body of water and the hawk must remain exactly centered, at a height not exceeding 100 meters. The falconer will have the task of making the ducks fly, which will be attacked by the swooping hawk at a speed of about 320 km / h.
It is important to remember that the hawk, at heights greater than 100 meters, can reach and perhaps overcome the so-called critical speed of which its body, with closed wings, is capable of descending in a swoop. Briefly, let us remember that the critical speed is that which a body, of certain weight and shape, can reach, accelerated by the force of gravity and slowed down by the resistance of the air. Hangte, in 1968, was able to calculate that the critical speed of the peregrine falcon could be placed between 368 and 384 kilometers per hour. A further characteristic of the peregrine falcon is the rigidity of the flight feathers, essential for maneuverability at the end of the dive. But rigid feathers also mean fragile feathers, so the capture must always take place in open spaces, avoiding the risk of hits with branches and even foliage. The hunting strategy of the peregrine falcon consists in the attempt to bring itself in a dominant position towards the probable prey. The actual capture takes place with the so-called "jab", a blow with both claws, which should stun, or unbalance, or injure the prey, which will fall to the ground, where it is killed with the powerful beak.
The hunting technique with the Peregrine Falcon is fascinating and evocative. Seeing and admiring this animal swooping down at very high speed is a spectacle of nature.