"Since the days of Genghis Khan the sport of falconry has remained unchanged. Our techniques and terminology are virtually the same as they were centuries ago. The beauty and meaning of the sport—hunter and falconer working together in trust—is timeless." This is how Morlan Nelson, shown here holding the falcon, Tundra, explains his sport.
Nelson, a Boise, Idaho sportsman and conservation aide, is probably the most skillful and dedicated falconer of the small band which practices the ancient sport in the U.S. As a boy on his father's North Dakota ranch Nelson used to watch the incredibly fast raptors strike and seize waterfowl in mid-air—and by the time he was 12 he had caught and trained his first hawk. Today Nelson's mews houses three falcons, a goshawk and Clyde, a magnificent Golden Eagle who has appeared in several Walt Disney nature films. Each bird, caught by Nelson as a fledgling, requires patient and exhaustive training because of the completely voluntary association between the falconer and his swooping, soaring hunter. "The falconer," explains Nelson, "has no reprimand. The bird must return of his own will to become again a part of the team in which man plays the minor role."