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Veer Valli Singh Ji,

Where are you from, CA?

You must be extremely dedicated and passionate about Falconery if you are thinking about getting an Harris Hawk!

Its way too much responsibility and time for me to consider that - plus I live in London, not the best place to exercise a raptor!

I worked with a Harris Hawk last year - beautiful birds. They are extremely popular in North America from what I remember, in fact I think they are indigenous to that region (maybe more southerly).

What I love about them, apart from them being a perfect size i.e. not delicate like a Peregrine and not a living Nightmare like a Golden Eagle, is that they are the only Bird of Prey with a social mentality. They operate like Wolves when they hunt (pack hunting has been seen) and like dogs when they are with humans. Basically you can take one out for the day here when you have reached suitable training, and just let it loose and go walking in the country. Take your family, have a Punjabi picnic, do what you want. The bird will follow you and always be within viewable range! Amazing animals!!

Def the best one to get in terms of family animal in my opinion.

Here are some picture I took of the one I was blessed to work with:

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"there's alot of Nihang Falconers around Takht Sachkhand Hazur Sahib,

(saw one with an eagle)."

Are you talking about this chap?

If so, thats a Brahmymani Kite, not an Eagle, I haven't ever seen anyone in India with an Eagle...

The relationships between Nihangs and their horses (Jaan Bhai) and their Birds of Prey are beyond imagination. UK has some of the best Falconers and Horse trainers in the world, but for all their resources and knowledge, none of them can create 'human' relationships/trust like the Nihangs...

This Singh Sahib was riding around the perimeter of Takht Sahib with the streets overflowing with people, food, noise, lights etc. The Bird did not flinch, even when being suddenly surrouned by hundreds of people (my fault for stopping to take a picture) - best of all - it didn't even need a blindfold!

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Thats great news.

Sounds like a great holiday opportunity for me in the near future!

May Akaal Purkh bless your mahaan endeavour, keep us updated.

I would advise writing a journal of what you have experienced and learnt so far and maintain throughout your journey, recording and photographing every step of that journey and if possible, recording what is left of this virsa in Nihang circles in India also.

It will make an absolutely amazing book one day and you will be able to purchase a whole lot more land for the upkeep and expansion of this amazing Sikh art.

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Interesting story, the best conservationists always tend be ex-offenders (so to say)!

Brilliant work he is doing now.

Is this guy a 3HO? Would be odd if so!!

I think thats a Gyrofalcon - same bird I theorise Shakti aur Bhakti de Shahnshaah - Guru Hargobind Sahib was reputed to have i.e. was white and was popular in the Central Asian Royal families (easily attainable).

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Ahh, I think its a Sparrowhawk. There is a pair that lives around the corner from me in some woods - amazing birds - they hunt Pigeons in London! One minute you see a nice fat Pigeon nicely perched on a branch, next minute you hear a wind, a small bang and where the Pigeon was sitting, you just see shower of feathers, floating down to the floor....

It would be a sub-continental version though, maybe a Besra Sparrowhawk...

Thats just a guess though, I could be wrong. Maybe Valli Singh knows as I think he has spent time with Dal Panth.

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  • 1 year later...

Just thought this thread was the most relevant to add the below article:

Guru Gobind Singhs Eagles nearly extinct


Confusion reigns over the population of the threatened species of Baaj (Eastern goshawk), which holds significance for its association with the 10th Sikh guru. With no census on the bird available with the Punjab Government, the bird is on the verge of extinction.

Sources in the state Wildlife Department said a notification issued by the state government in 1989 mentioned that the State Bird of Punjab is Baaj. However, this bird seems to be sliding towards extinction and the state government has “failed” to either carry out a census or raise some breeding ground for it.

Talking to TNS, state Chief Wildlife Warden Gurbaj Singh said: “There is no data available on its population with us, as it is now spotted very rarely in the state. Though I cannot say if it was given the status of a State Bird due to its association with the 10th Sikh guru, it is impossible to identify this bird as both male and female goshawks look same and there is no arrangement for its breeding.”

Karamjit Singh Jattana, a former Divisional Forest Officer (Patiala), said the Punjab Government had failed to order any study to associate Baaj with the 10th Sikh guru or initiate steps to protect it from extinction. “Instead, it accepted a Central government grant for the breeding of falcon and ignored Baaj, which is almost extinct,” he added.

State Minister for Wildlife and Forests Tikshan Sud said he was not sure if there was a difference between a falcon and eastern goshawk but officials of the Wildlife Department must clarify it. “However, I will ask officials to conduct a detailed study on this topic and if Baaj is extinct or needs breeding ground, facilities should be made available,” he added.

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Personally (according to my research on historic paintings and comparing colouring/patterns/influences etc)- I don't agree Goshawk was Guru Sahibs Baaj - I thought Baaj was simply a generic term for Hawk. In Punjabi - in some cases - we use generic terms for animals - as Zoology (categorisation etc) is mainly a modern European tradition. For me, the word baaj is akin to the taxonomic rank - 'family' i.e. Falconidae.

Most Raptors (according to family groups) have near identical wing and tail shape - this is kudrats way of allowing hunted animals to distinguish between the silhouette of predatory and non-predatory birds. The pointed wing theory would accord more to the smaller Falcons, Kestrals and Gyrfalcon (at a push :-). Goshawks don't have pointed wings - more flaired - so if pointed wings definition of baaj is correct - Goshawk goes out the window - so my theory stands strong again!

Still sad there is little to no effort to monitor/preserve what little remains of Punjabs wildlife...

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As a teenager I kept Laggar Falcon and She was not small.I even met some Falcon experts Who said that Falcon is always a Female as Female Falcons have big size ,so all Falconory Experts Keep females.I must say that despite any knowledge I was able to train her so when I used to show her meat she always use to come to sit on My arm.I had also made special leather Gloves as she had very sharp claws.

Also I asked My Dad's cousin about falcons and he said that there are shikra(sparroh hawks) in Punjab Which Nihangs keep ,he also told me avbout some Big Falcon But he don't knew his name

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KDSingh, what did you feed your Falcon? Did you train her to hunt..? How did you keep her housed through out the day etc.. Is she still alive, if not, how long did she live?

I used to feed her Chicken and mutton.Some falcon experts then told me That you have to shoot some Pigeons and other birds as birds of prey do need to eat these birds O/W they die.I shot some Birds and feed her.I was not able to teach her how to hunt.At First I clipped her wings and tied her with ropes.But after she became friendly I used to keep her in store room untied.Anyway a year later

my health badly declined so I decided to let her go but She refused.I committed One mistake and that cost her life.The experts told me that though this bird is capable of defending herself against cats but its still better If you make some Cage for her as some big cat could kill her ,but i did not take their advice seriously as I myself have seen her shooing cats away.One day when i went their I was unable to found her .I was quite surprised I thought may be she had gone or hopped in neighbours house but later I found Few feathers I think that their is 99% chance That she was taken by a Big Cat or may be She left on her Own

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