Pick your favourite falcon at Adihex
Visitors check falcons at the Falcon Centre's pavilion at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.
Abu Dhabi - At Adihex, the Falcon Centre sells its birds from anything between Dh10,000 and Dh100,000.
Several dozens of falcons sit quietly on the wooden rails of Falcon Centre's pavilion at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex). Every once in a while one of them starts screaming, as if in protest.
"It's a Peregrin/Gyr falcon. Sometimes they don't like it when you put the hood on. They have quite a personality," said Sultan Al Falasi, a falconer working with the Dubai-based Falcon Centre.
Placing the special leather hood on the falcon's head is necessary, though, as it keeps the bird calm and relaxed.
Only when there is a serious enquiry about buying a falcon, the hood comes off for a better look at the bird and this seems to happen fairly often.
A regular participant at Adihex, the Falcon Centre is one of the oldest falcon breeders in the UAE, established in 1987.
"We have two breeding farms, one in Germany and one in Spain. We chose these locations because of the weather. The weather in the UAE is too hot for falcon farms," said Al Falasi.
For years now, trapping or importing wild falcons in the UAE is illegal, hence the farm-bred falcons have become a growing industry. It is not easy, though, as the falcon chicks have to be kept for three years on the farms before they grow enough to be able to reproduce. At Adihex, the Falcon Centre sells its birds from anything between Dh10,000 and Dh100,000.
"The females are usually more expensive, as they are bigger than the males, so they can catch bigger prey. The colour and the species also make a difference in price. The pure Gyr, for example, is the most expensive falcon," explained Al Falasi.
Once the purchase is done, falconers take their birds straight to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) for a health check up. Dozens of falcons are queuing in the "waiting room" for a health examination before taking to the sky for their first hunting trip.
"In case there is a problem, if it is something small, the falconers still buy the falcon; we just give them the medicine for the quick treatment. If the problem is big, we give them a full medical report, and they go back to the breeder to either return or exchange the falcon," said Dr Margit Muller, executive director of ADFH.
Mostly, the birds are fine and fit for training for the hunting season that is about to start.