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Falconry Las Hurdes style

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Offline steveT

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« on: February 26, 2007, 21:27 PM »
Dear all .... just a question that I've never resolved....

About 15 years ago I was in a village in Las Hurdes and in the evening I got chatting to a local in a bar. He told that when he was a child that he would climb up to eagles nests while the adults were hunting and tie up the beaks of the young. Then take the prey (rabbit) from the nest when food was deposited and the eagle/s had gone off again, also untieing the beak of the young so that on the eagles return the young could feed and so that he could reuse the nest after a few days.

I know that Las Hurdes suffered extreme poverty and up until the 50s or so and that raiding nests would have been away to get protein from eggs for example, but could you systematically raid nests for their prey? I guess you might be able to to it once but I'm sure the bird would notice disturbance, and would stop returning. I'm not a bird expert .... has anyone ever heard of this ? Was I being being told un cuento alto or could there have been some truth in what he said ..... Perhaps I was supposed to retort with a pythonesque "Luxury .... now when I was a lad we used to dream of bird kill "......etc .... .

I remember being convinced by the guy at the time and I talking to him all evening about Las Hurdes and life there in the past ....really fascinating! ..... does anyone think it was possible???? Could it have worked once and then the nest would have been abandoned??? Was there some grain of truth in what he said? Any ideas ?

Thanks

SteveT

Offline nick

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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 21:29 PM »
Fascinting story Steve. Sounds almost like they were farming the birds of prey. Never heard of it before. I'll ask around
Nick
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 10:09 AM »
Steve,
Great story! Can't confirm it but certainly wouldn't reject it out of hand - hunger sharpens the wit, and here we're talking about extreme hunger - not the poachers we know (?) back home who do it (poach) for a variety of reasons (few of them to do with hunger). Even if the story weren't true in the first person, it probably refers to 'common' practice in the past.
Would love to hear a 'qualified' opinion on the matter.
Meanwhile, please keep chatting to this guy - if he kept you spellbound for such a long time, he must be a goldmine of local nature-lore. And keep us informed!
There's a wealth of sabiduría being lost 'cos few of us have time to listen to the old guys (and gals).
Regards,
Technopat
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 23:41 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline nick

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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2007, 16:53 PM »
I've been talking to a friend about this. He reckoned it also went on in Doñana with the imperial eagle but doubts it was ever anything systematic. He thinks real cases (as this one) were probably mixed with popular folklore to make it seem more common than it actually was. But he's unsure. I'll see if I can find out any more.

Cheers
Nick
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
http://iberianature.com/brita

Offline steveT

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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2007, 15:15 PM »
Thanks Nick!

steveT