Culture

Falcons

The falcon is the national bird of the UAE, although falcons are not native to the United Arab Emirates.

Emiratis love flying them, training them, racing them, watching them and go hunting with them.

Falcons can fly at speed up to 390 kilometers per hour. It is the fastest animal in the world. They have such a keen vision that they can see small prey from three kilometers away.

Watching the communication between a falcon and the falconer is a must.

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Falconry

Falconry is a traditional activity involving hunting with trained falcons.

The sport has evolved and spread through communities and societies as a form of intangible cultural heritage. It is a socially entertaining practice and a means of communication and interaction with nature.

Although it was formerly a means of obtaining food, it has also borne many social denotations, values and meanings. Moreover, it has become emblem symbol of friendship, sharing, participation and an expression of freedom, as the falconers have a distinctive set of cultural traditions and morals. They are also eager to transfer this heritage sport to their children, grandchildren and young social groups.

Falconry is considered one of the most ancient relationships between humans and birds, dating back more than 4000 years. It is a traditional activity based on releasing the falcon to hunt its prey in its natural environment, enjoyed by amateur and professional participants of all ages. With the passage of time, these falconers have exerted strenuous efforts to strengthen their relationship with birds and the methods of their training, which has led to the emergence of a special language between falcon and falconer. Consequently, folk literature surrounding the practice has emerged, being represented in poetry, songs, stories and tales. It has also led to the development of handmade falconry tools.

Falconers

Falconers regard themselves as a group joined together by this unique heritage sport, which enhances cultural values based on participation, sharing, cooperation and mutual support, characterized by the ‘brothers association’ in UAE and the ‘partner association’ in Saudi Arabia.

In fact, these bonds are manifested through friendship and equality in the sharing of duties, mandates and responsibilities of the groups of 6 to 12 falconers, who spend a period ranging from one to three weeks practicing this traditional sport. This is interposed with evening gatherings around burning fireplaces in the camps set up in falconry regions.