Soaring Above the Rest: Sky Falconry
Explore the ancient “sport of kings” at one of America's premier falconry schools.
High above the backcountry soars a majestic red-tailed hawk. He bobs, soars, and glides with the grace of a ballerina. Suddenly, he changes course, folds his wings in tight, and dives right towards you. Moments before impact, he spreads his wings with a quick flutter and lands deftly on your outstretched forearm. His sharp talons curl around your protective glove as you make eye contact with one of nature's most formidable hunters. This is unlike any wildlife experience you’ve ever had. This is falconry.
With roots as far back as Ancient Mesopotamia, falconry is the art of training a bird of prey to respond to human commands. Alpine's own Master Falconer, Kirk Sellinger, and partner, Denise Disharoon, share their knowledge with the public through their nonprofit, Sky Falconry. “We aim to preserve the art of falconry, teach raptor biology and the need for conservation,” says Sellinger.
Located near the trailhead of Viejas Mountain, Sky Falconry offers everyone the rare opportunity to free fly a trained bird of prey to the glove.
Available from September through early July, Sky Falconry offers four levels of instruction ranging from group sessions to personal instruction. Beginners can sign up for a basic lesson where they will learn to hold a hawk, cast it from a glove and call it back again.
Want more practice? Take a Hawk Walk! Guests meander through meadows and open trails on Sky Falconry's private ranch while free flying a trained raptor to and from the glove. Hawk Walks offer the opportunity for a more intimate interaction and more innate behavior displays. Instructors guide guests through field training techniques such as following on and casting the hawk from the glove.
Private instruction is also available. Please visit their website to check prices and availability.
2710 Alpine Blvd, K-121
Alpine, CA 91901