On Sunday, December 5, a group of more than 60 TFP supporters and friends, mostly fathers and sons, gathered for a falconry exhibition organized by the TFP’s Louisiana Director Thomas Drake.
After Mass, attendees gathered for lunch at a restaurant and then headed to the Feliciana Retreat Center about an hour outside of Baton Rouge. There they attended a presentation given by a veteran falconer who answered questions and gave a hands-on presentation of how to handle the majestic birds of prey.
After displaying his Harris Hawks, he explained that a falconer does not teach a hawk to hunt. The instinct to hunt is natural to the bird. What the falconer must teach them is to hunt near him and to return on command, where they are rewarded with a morsel of food.
He explained that the Harris Hawk is one of the only birds of prey that will hunt together in groups, utilizing teamwork in a very effective way.
After many participants had the opportunity to hold and pet the birds, the attending priest gave a blessing and everybody headed out for the hunt. Although it was a rainy day and little game was moving, no one’s spirits were dampened. Watching the hawks gracefully fly through the trees and perch just a head of the drive waiting for action was enough to leave everyone excited and admiring.
Throughout the day, only one squirrel was spotted by the keen birds and barely eluded his captors’ menacing talons by jumping to the ground from fifty feet up. When night fell, the birds were put away and the group went to the pavilion for a dinner of Jambalaya which had been prepared by several TFP supporters. There was plenty of lively conversation as young and old discussed the day’s activities and continued to ask questions of the falconer. Everyone agreed that they would readily return another day if the opportunity arose to join in on a hunt with God’s majestic birds of prey.