Meet Lira, a red tailed hawk, and our house guest for two weeks.
In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined this as part of our life or our learning, but for Jake it makes perfect sense. From the time he was two, Mike and I just knew that wildlife would encompass his life. And it has. He has an innate connection with wild creatures that leaves me in awe, as a mother, and as a human being.
When he came to us late last year and discussed the idea of becoming a falconer, it seemed a natural progression in his journey. We met with a falconer friend who was willing to take him on, for two years, as an apprentice and train him in the art of falconry.
Mike, Jake and Jordan (Lira's handler and Jake's sponsor) traveled to a falconry convention in February. Jake was able to meet other falconers, of all ages, from around the state, and get an idea of the commitment and time involved. He came home even more enthusiastic about his decision.
We try not to put labels on our learning, but this has become a full fledged unschooling sort of project. In order for Jake to get his falconry license, he has to study biology, history, and medical training for all birds of prey. When he feels he's ready, he will go to the DNR office to take an exam. Then he has to build a house outside for the hawk, called a mew. After it's passed inspection, he's able to trap a hawk and train it for hunting.
I have to admit, I was a little nervous about the whole idea, but after having Lira here for a week already, I'm much more comfortable with the situation. Jake has alleviated all fears and dispelled any myths I had about keeping a hawk. I hope that sometime soon, he'll write a post about his experience with Lira and talk a little more about the history and ethics of falconry.
Until then, I'm going to sit and marvel at having a hawk for a house guest.
An added note: Lira is with us, while Jordan is on vacation. Click here to read an interview he gave to a local newspaper.