A 5th Grader Interviews a Real Life Falconer

For my son Jake’s 11th birthday last week, he only asked for one gift — a tarantula! And guess what? We got it for him. His name is Mordecai and he is a Chilean Rose Tarantula who
drinks water twice a month and eats a cricket weekly. It was that or a falcon. We figured a tarantula was more low maintenance.
Lucky for Jake, he can live his falconer dreams vicariously through author Tim Jessell. Tim, a falconer from Oklahoma with 15 years experience, has written and illustrated a
pretty picture book called “Falcon.” The illustrations are loosely based on Tim’s own peregrine mix named Spike. The book details how a young boy imagines what it would be like to fly as a falcon and see the world from on high. After being charmed by the book, Jake recently conducted an email interview with the author Tim Jessell.

JAKE: Tell me about your falcons.

TIM: Spike is 12 years old & Bolt was 3. Both male falcons. Sadly, Bolt died in February from internal injuries after stooping (diving) and striking a barbed wire fence while hunting wild ducks. He survived the surgery for his injuries, but not much could be done, in hindsight, about the internal injuries. He was an exceptional high flyer and hunter. I’ll miss him.

JAKE: Is there some kind of falconers’ code like a knights’ code?

TIM: In the medieval days there was a code as to the proper bird for you fly at each particular station of your life. That is certainly not true anymore. Our codes are
encouraging treating one’s falconry bird with excellent husbandry (training and hunting), and “pet keeping” is extremely frowned upon. In other
words, each falconer has a duty to hunt game with his bird in order to let the bird do what it was born to do.

J: What kind of falcons do you have?

T: One is a Hybrid (gyr/peregrine) and the other a peregrines.

J: What does your falcon do for you, now that you can just go to the grocery store, instead of having it hunt for you?

T: I get to see things most people never see. A falcon in a high speed dive, trying to catch wild quarry in a natural setting. It’s an exhilarating form of
“specialized bird watching,” with me as the bird’s hunting partner, game flusher and trainer.

J: Do you like pie?

T: Yes!

J: What is yourfavorite flavor?

T: Raisin (yep raisin) or blueberry.

J: Can falcons be trained to play video games?

T: The controllers would wear their feather edges down too badly. 😉

J: Thank you, Mr. Jessell, I really enjoyed reading your book and hope to be a falconer too some day.

To see more of Tim Jessell’s work, visit www.timjessell.com Read more of Jake’s work at http://ninjajake.tumblr.com and visit http://youtube.com/ninjajaketv




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