Falcon

Falcon

a bird of the hawk tribe, anciently trained to assist in hunting, and still used in the East for the same purpose. Dr. Thomson (Land and Book, 1:309 sq.) thus speaks of the practice in Palestine: "The beg at the castle of Tibnin, which we are now approaching, always keeps several of these large falcons on their perches in his grand reception-hall, where they are tended with the utmost care. I have been out on the mountains to see them hunt, and it is a most exciting scene. The emirs sit as their horses, holding the birds on their wrists, and the woods are filled with their retainers, beating about and shouting, to start up and drive toward them the poor partridges. When snear enough, the falcon is launched from the hand, and swoops down upon his victim like an eagle hasting to the prey. After he has struck his quarry, the falcon flies a short distance, and lights on the ground, amid the redoubled shouts of the sportsmen. The keeper darts forward, secures both, cuts the throat of the partridge, and allows his captor to suck its blood. This is his reward. Notwithstanding the exhilaration of the sport, I could never endure the falcon himself. There is something almost satanic in his eye, and in the ferocity with which he drinks the warm life-blood of his innocent victim. I once saw some men of Tortosa catching the Syrian quail with a small hawk. This was done on foot, each sportsman carrying his bird on the right wrist, and beating the bushes with a stick held in his left hand. These quails are less than the American; are migratory, coming here in early spring, and passing on to the north. They hide under the bushes, and will not rise on the wing unless forced to do so by a dog, or by the hunter himself. I was surprised to see how quickly and surely the little hawk seized his game. His reward also was merely the blood of the bird. I do not know whether or not the Jews in ancient days were acquainted with falconry, but David complains that Saul hunted for his blood as one doth hunt for a partridge in the mountains (1Sa 26:20); and this hunting of the same bird on these mountains, and giving their blood to the hawk, reminds one of the sad complaint of the persecuted son of Jesse. In the neighborhood of Aleppo the smaller falcon is taught to assist the sportsman to capture the gazelle. Neither horse nor greyhound can overtake these fleet creatures on the open desert, and therefore the Arabs have taught the hawk to fasten on their forehead, and blind them by incessant flapping of their wings. Bewildered and terrified, they leap about at random, and are easily captured. They are also trained to attack the bustard in the same region. This bird is about as large as a turkey, and highly prized by the lovers of game; but, as they keep on the vast level plains, where there is nothing to screen the cautious hunter, it is almost impossible to get within gunshot of them. When they rise in the air, the little falcon flies up from beneath and fastens on one of their wings, and then both come whirling over and over to the ground, when the hunter quickly seizes the bustard, and delivers his brave bird from a position not particularly safe or comfortable. They will even bring down the largest eagle in the same way; but in this desperate game they are sometimes torn to pieces by the insulted majesty of the feathered kingdom." SEE HAWK.

Bible concordance for FALCON.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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