Each year falconers assemble at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition to further their craft. This year’s attendees were treated to a display of customized falcon hoods, adorned with precious metal and gemstones, certified by IGI.
As described in the monograph:
Falcon hoods serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they act as a form of protection for the falcon’s eyes. The hoods are made from soft, pliable materials such as leather or fabric, which shield the bird’s eyes from bright sunlight, wind and distractions. This allows the falcon to focus on its prey without being visually overwhelmed.
Secondly, falcon hoods help in maintaining the bird’s calmness and concentration. By limiting the falcon’s field of vision, the hood reduces external stimuli, preventing the bird from becoming overly excited or distracted. This is particularly important during the training and hunting process, as it allows the falconer to maintain control over the bird’s actions.
Falcon hoods are not a one-size-fits-all accessory. They are custom made to fit each individual falcon, taking into consideration the bird’s size, shape and specific needs. Skilled falconers carefully craft these hoods, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit that does not restrict the bird’s breathing or movement.
The design of falcon hoods also varies across different regions and cultures within the middle east. Some hoods feature intricate embroidery or decorative elements, reflecting the artistic traditions of the falconer’s community. These embellishments not only add aesthetic value but also serve as a form of identification, allowing falconers to distinguish their birds from others during competitions or gatherings.
A Cherished Tradition
Falconry is a cherished tradition in the UAE, practiced for centuries. Today, falconry remains a symbol of heritage and prestige. The Abu Dhabi Falconers Club was born to protect and develop the UAE’s falconry heritage. The organization achieves this goal by arranging competitions and heritage events. Conservation efforts ensure the sustainable practice of falconry, preserving both the tradition and the precious birds of prey.