Congratulations to Jackie who just passed her Falconry License last week!
We asked Jackie some questions to find out about how falconry has impacted her life:
GBA: So did know that you had a passion for falconry before attending Greenbrier Academy for Girls?
Jackie: I had never even heard of falconry before Greenbrier Academy for Girls, but I was instantly drawn to it when I arrived. Being able to tame a wild animal to the point where it completely trusts you and places its life in your hands—yet allows you to accompany it while it hunts and experience the thrilling drama of the chase—is amazing to me.
GBA: While you were at Greenbrier, you became the head of the Falconry club and worked hard to increase its membership. What motivated you?
Jackie: Falconry is a practice that’s 4,000 years old, and being able to participate in something—assisting a bird in its hunt—that in the wild happens every day, but we as humans rarely glimpse. It feels amazing, and how could I just want to keep that feeling to myself? Recruiting other members and sharing my newfound passion seemed to amplify the excitement of falconry in a group setting, not hinder it! This fall at college I will be starting my own Falconry Club at school!
GBA: That’s fantastic! What is it like for you to connect with the bird?
Jackie: Helping a hawk to learn vital hunting skills before it is released again is such a special opportunity. Whereas before Greenbrier Academy for Girls and my falconry adventure, I felt disconnected from nature and my spirituality, I now feel more in tune with the world and trusting of myself than ever before. It’s just so humbling to hold a bird of prey on my fist.
GBA: After Greenbrier, you went to Britain and continued falconry training. Can you tell us a little about that?
Jackie: I interned at the Hawking Centre from like January through May (while living in a pretty bed and breakfast in the English countryside!!!) 🙂 Lucky for the Brits, there is absolutely NO legislation whatsoever regarding falconry or keeping birds of prey (except that you can’t trap them). Fortunately, most breeders really look into the buyers though.
GBA: So to get your license you needed a sponsor. How has that worked out?
Jackie: I’m lucky enough to be co-sponsored by both the President AND Vice-President of the North Carolina Falconers’ Guild! I have a sponsor who is actually the President of Falconry for the state of North Carolina and is very well-respected by falconers across the world! I can’t believe he agreed to be my sponsor. I’m so lucky! I have literally the best guy in the region.
GBA: That is pretty amazing! So what is next?
Jackie: Now that I passed my exam, I’m building my permanent mews (a pen, cage, or home where hawks are kept, especially while molting) this week at home, which will be inspected by a federal agent. Then they’ll mail me my license. In September, I’ll be off to college and ready to trap my new hawk that month! It will be a red-tailed hawk, just like Loki [Greenbrier Academy for Girls’ hawk] except will be a female this time. I’ve made friends with my biology/pre-vet advisor, who is excited and happy to let my hawk live on his property—a mile from campus in temporary housing. I’m also starting a college club this year for falconry! As I complete the construction of the mews at my house, I am getting closer and closer to the arrival of that day when I come home with a wild and beautiful creature in my arms. September 4th officially marks that day! It’s hard to be calm when things in my life keep progressing so awesomely. But I sure hope it doesn’t stop soon!
GBA: Thanks for the wonderful update, Jackie! We love you and are so proud of you. Keep us posted!