The recent news story of the Saudi prince buying seats for 80 of his falcons has been a huge hit with photos being shared around Social media. To people here and possible other countries this is pretty extraordinary, however in the UAE, albeit most airlines and travel companies would have a restriction on numbers, this would be normal every day stuff.
Falconry is an ancient Arabic tradition and today is one of the most exclusive sports in the UAE, the top birds cost thousands and are issued with their own passports hence why you see them on planes.
The falcon is UAEs national bird and represents strength and courage. Wild ones are rarely used in the UAE and although there are breeding centres the majority of the birds are imported from the UK, Germany and Spain amongst others.
The falcon Heritage centre in Dubai is the place to go for all things falconry, you can visit the museum and find out more about the history and culture of falconry, a souk where you can buy everything you need falconry related such as gauntlets and hoods, they also have a vet on hand. There is also birds on show, and this is the only place in Dubai where you can legally buy and sell the birds.
Every year they hold Falconry races which is now open to public entries and they have a falcon hospital in Abu Dhabi, but these both deserve a blog post in their own right as there is much to talk about.
Darren would love to attend the races one year and visit the falconry souks but the one downside to our line of business is family holidays are out of the question, but he may well go solo one year if opportunity allows, or we can wait till we are big enough to have employees and we can all go.
Keep a look out for our next blog post
Darren & Clare
Darren and Clare
Husband and wife and owners of Speyside Falconry