A Harris’s Hawk stands on a falconer’s gloved fist at a Cancun, Mexico, resort.
I’ve been reading “H is for Hawk” by Helen MacDonald, about a woman training a goshawk, and I took the book to a resort in Cancun, Mexico, where my husband and I were attending a wedding. So with falconry on my mind, I was excited to see a man with hawk at the resort. My husband spotted the bird first. He trained his own hawk many years ago.
I rushed over and asked the man many questions and took some photos (lucky to have my camera with me.)
The bird, a Harris’s Hawk, named Runner, was two years old and had been bred by the man’s family, which has been in the bird breeding and training business for five generations (now including his son.) It took three months to train the bird to return to the fist. “He thinks of us as his parents,” he said.
He calls the bird back to his fist with a click and then feeds it. The bird is gentle (except with food) and good with children. I was able to pet it a little.
The man brings Runner to the resort about three times a week to discourage smaller birds from taking up residence in the trees and around the pool, where they would leave bird droppings, and at outdoor restaurants.
The man said that Harris’s Hawks were very smart and were some of the few birds of prey that hunted in groups.
“They are called the wolf of the desert,” he said. “They live in Sonora and Chihuahua.”
The Harris’s hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) formerly known as the bay-winged hawk or dusky hawk, is a medium-large bird of prey that breeds from the southwestern United States south to Chile, central Argentina, and Brazil
Runner lives in the man’s house, along with 18 other birds. “They live like kings.” In all, the family business owns 300 birds that they have bred, including eagles and macaws in addition to hawks.
I wish I would have thought to ask him his name and the name of his business, but at least I was able to take some photos.
A falconer brings a Harris’s Hawk to a Cancun, Mexico, resort to discourage smaller birds from hanging out on the grounds and pool areas, where they might soil the landscape. Clockwise from the upper left, the hawk flies to a palm tree; the hawk sitting in a tree; a little girl petting the hawk; the hawk resting on the man’s gloved fist; and the hawk eating some food after being called back from the palm tree with a click.
About the Harris’s Hawk.
“H is for Hawk” by Helen MacDonald