People participate in all sorts of crazy sporting activities for recreation, from running with bulls in Pamplona and throwing a hammer in the Highland Games to fierce ping pong battles and actual games of Quidditch (yes, in real life). Humans like to train, compete, and win. If you foster a fierce love of birds, there are ways to combine that passion with a competitive streak. Try any of these time-honored traditions below.
1. Competitive Poultry: While the idea of raising chickens and harvesting their eggs in urban backyards is gaining steam again this century, competing with actual live poultry may seem a bit strange to the average person. Much like a dog show, various breeds of chickens compete for awards like 'Best in Show' after meeting acceptable levels of breed perfection.
2. Falconry: Humans have been using falcons to assist them in catching rodents and other small mammals for both food and sport for over 4,000 years. While the advent of guns has reduced the need to use birds of prey to help hunt, there is a small, core group of people throughout the world, from the Middle east to northern Minnesota. In fact, every state in the Union has a falconry group that meets regular to enjoy these birds.
3. Bird Watching: The simple pleasure of bird watching, while less competitive than the others on this list, still enjoys a healthy dose of competition. Birding lets people enjoy the outdoors while trying to be the first person to spot a robin or a nesting eagle, regardless of skill level or experience. In fact, the Audubon Society hosts an annual 'Backyard Bird Count Day' in February where they ask everyone to count all the birds they see in their backyard so the society can keep accurate records.
4. Carrier Pigeons: Carrier pigeons, or homing pigeons, have been raised for sporting purposes for over 3,000 years and even had a hand in relaying messages during World War I. While their numbers are decreasing each year, people that raise pigeons are dedicated and loyal to the bread.
5. Eagle Hunters: A variation of falconry is practiced throughout Mongolia called eagle hunting. Hunters ride horseback through the Russian steppes in search of food and use their eagle to catch and retrieve it. Traditionally a skill that follows a patriarchal line, there is a new Sony-produced documentary on the first female hunter, a 13-year old girl, entitled "Eagle Huntress".
If any of these sound a little unusual to you, just think for a moment about Olympic lugers. People have been hurling themselves down hills since the 16th century on tiny sleds at speeds that now reach well over 80 m.p.h. Birding activities don't seem so strange, do they? Are you ready to buy a falcon?Share
18 December 2018
Although many people love getting outside and doing fun things together as a group, each recreational activity comes along with its own list of risks, which is why you have to know how to stay safe. I started focusing more on staying safe during outdoor events after I had kids, and I honestly feel like a few of those precautions have protected my kids from what could have been seriously dangerous events. Check out this website for great information on enjoying different recreational activities while staying safe and sound. You won't believe how much of a difference a few simple safety precautions can make.