Baz and the Baby
Falconry started in China about 4,000 years ago and spread to Japan, the Arabian peninsula, Iran and Syria, becoming eventually very popular also in Britain.
Today, falconry is still very popular in the Arab world and the most important markets for falcons are in Saudi Arabia where birds are brought from Yemen, Pakistan, Syria and Jordan. Falcon prices range between 2,000 and 700,000 Saudi Riyals – about 500 to 187,000 U.S. Dollars!
Today’s falconry is becoming a high-tech sport, which uses special nighttime binoculars, lasers and satellite dishes for observing and tracking the movement of the birds. Falcons have keen eye-sight and are able to see their prey from as far as eight kilometers away. They are also extremely fast, reaching attack speeds of 360 Km per hour!
If prize falcons fall sick, there is a special falcon hospital in Jeddah, and a new, 134 million-dollar hospital for falcons is under way in Riyadh. This ultra-modern facility will also work to preserve and raise rare falcons.
Based on an article by Bassam Zakaria Zein in Al-Hayat, April 11, 1999