Falconry, a living human heritage

Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Falconry is the traditional activity of keeping and training falcons and other raptors to take quarry in its natural state. Originally a way of obtaining food, falconry is today identified with camaraderie and sharing rather than subsistence. Falconry is mainly found along migration flyways and corridors, and is practised by amateurs and professionals of all ages and genders. Falconers develop a strong relationship and spiritual bond with their birds, and commitment is required to breed, train, handle and fly the falcons. Falconry is transmitted as a cultural tradition by a variety of means, including mentoring, learning within families and formalized training in clubs. In hot countries, falconers take their children to the desert and train them to handle the bird and establish a mutual relationship of trust. While falconers come from different backgrounds, they share common values, traditions and practices such as methods of training and caring for birds, equipment used and the bonding process. Falconry forms the basis of a wider cultural heritage, including traditional dress, food, songs, music, poetry and dance, sustained by the communities and clubs that practise it.