medieval hunting facts about hawking and falconry

Medieval Hawking & Falconry: Hunting with Peregrines in the Middle Ages

In a time before accurate guns, hawking and falconry were the best means of catching avian prey besides the odd “lucky bows-shot” or trapping, and falconers put many delicacies on the tables of aristocratic families (Almond 20). But because of the cost of equipment and the vast amounts of time needed to train predatory birds for hunting, hawking was deemed an “upper-class sport” (Almond 20). The falcon (female peregrine) was favored over the hawk or tiercel (male peregrine) because they were larger and fiercer (Almond 20). The kinds of quarry peregrines would catch were partridges, pheasants, cocks, ducks, bustards, geese, herons, snipes, cranes, mallards and larger falcons would even hunt rodents such as hares (Almond 20, 21). Also, smaller predatory birds like the merlin were useful for hunting smaller birds like larks, and the lark tongue was a delicacy among nobles and wealthier townsfolk (Almond 21).