Gyr falcon

Dangerously desirable: the white-morph gyr falcon commands sky-high prices

The art of falconry is more than 3,000 years old and possibly as popular now as at any time. Its devotees argue that in a pure form it is a deeply honourable tradition, requiring superhuman patience to coax a magnificent predator to hunt at the owner’s behest. It is a relationship, they would also claim, of mutual understanding and partnership between hawk and human. That’s the positive version. At its most degraded, falconry seems to be a psychopathological obsession, rooted in a fetish for control over beautiful raptors, which sometimes drives practitioners to morally dubious, even illegal, behaviour. The American journalist Joshua Hammer has written a revealing portrait of the