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Book: The Flying of Falcons

Authors: Ed Pitcher and Ricardo Velarde

396 Pages: This is the new American Falconry book that's causing a stir worldwide. And getting enthusiastic praise. Once you have a chance to hold it in your hands and read it, you will know why. Following a young falcon's develpmental sequence, Ed explains why he strives to allow his birds to progress through the natural stages in order to develop the confidence, initiative and abilities nature intended, without the falconer getting in the way. The result is a captive-reared falcon with the "wild mind set" that flies and behaves and succeeds more like it's wild conterpart.

Not just another "How To" falconry book following the well-worn path of training a bird to perform a few desired behaviors, The Flying of Falcons contains original thinking and observations that will challenge the reader to re-evaluate his prior results as well as perhaps unsettling the certainty in more than a few experienced falconers own minds as they are persuaded to re-evaluate old ideas.

New artwork from Andrew Ellis, Bern Poppelmann and Darl Peterson compliment the content well.

About the Book

Ed_with_tiercel2This book is the end result of my forty years of flying falcons and over twenty-five years of constant encouragement by Ricardo Velarde. Our friendship started in 1978 at a North American Falconers Association meet in Alamosa, Colorado. For some reason Ricardo was able to appreciate my approach to falconry. It was not long after we met that he began to suggest that I write down my thoughts and methods while working with my falcons. I was not that interested in writing a book and really didn’t feel competent as an aspiring falconer. Because of my own goals as a young falconer, I was more consumed with the efforts required to be successful at this unique sport.

Ricardo tried everything he could think of to help me record my thoughts and experiences. He suggested using a micro-recorder as I drove my car or during times when I was struck with insightful ideas, that didn’t work. Later, he gave me a hard covered notebook and suggested I write down my thinking about training falcons. That didn’t work either. It seemed that I never had the book or recorder with me when I was struck with ideas or thoughts about my approach to flying falcons. What did work was using any piece of paper I could find to write down my moments of inspiration. Paper shopping bags, old receipts and the backside of envelopes began to make up the bulk of my recording efforts. This approach drove my wife nuts because bits and pieces of paper were soon littering our house. She tried to help organize the litter and began using manila folders filled with my scribbling notes.

Ed__RicardoRicardo finally assembled about a hundred pages of script in order to show me that we actually had a project that needed to be completed. With his constant encouragement, the book gradually began to take shape. I was slowly convinced to make the effort of writing down my approach to managing falcons. By using my field experiences with falcons as examples, I make an attempt to entertain the reader as I relate the more didactic explanations of my thinking.

My efforts are guided by what I hope are new insights to the natural developmental sequence of most raptors. Birds of prey mature as our children do. Falcons learn about the world around them and then interact with their environment in an intelligent way just as we do. Falcons learn and interact with what I call in the book, “the neighborhood.” This cognitive ability of falcons to assess and then interact convinced me that operate conditioning and repetitive training techniques were not required. Falcons are much more than ‘instinct driven’ animals.

With the endless help from Ricardo and our editor, Bergitta Kater, we assembled the book into an autobiographical format that carries the reader through my experiences and revelations over my forty years as a falconer. Instead of using the typical numbered chapters usually seen in most books, the book is divided into sections. Each section is introduced with a quote from the book that Ricardo felt would outline the basic intent of each section. The reader is then taken through subsections that further illustrate my intentions with hawking stories or other examples.

My early years in falconry are the initial sections with the people and falcons that influenced my first interpretations of this artful and complex sport. The next section deals with reflective collections of my interpretations in order to prepare the reader for the more complex sections that follow. Falcon development, their cognitive and predatory abilities are outlined in the next sections of the book. Appreciation of falcon development and their cognitive abilities is pivotal to understanding the motivations of falcons and birds of prey in general. I discuss what I think are important milestones in falcon development such as Fidelity Factor, Fear Factor, Categorical Thinking and Trust. These sections carry the reader through what I hope are insightful ways to understand and then manage falcons in a new and more enlightened way.

Ed_with_tiercel_unhoodedTraditional Falconry is discussed as a matter of reference to this new way of falcon management. The traditional approach to falconry and its practices should not be abandoned but instead, they can be and I think should be, built upon. The more we advance our thinking about raptor behavior and development, the more we can establish the real partnership between man and hawk in this sport we call falconry. This new approach replaces the traditional interpretation of strict weight control as a life long management tool. Later in the book, I discuss the insightful wisdom of the traditional falconers who fully reclaimed falcons to their natural robust weights after the initial lower weights of training and manning.

American falconers in particular took the initial goals of weight reduction in falcon training and reclamation as the final goal of management. These interpretations of strict weight management resulted from the traditional literature not outlining weight management of falcons being flown at game. The wisdom of the traditional falconers knew wild taken falcons only needed to tolerate the falconer and then be allowed to return to their full capacity as an avian predator. And, the traditional falconers knew wild falcons did not need to be taught ‘how to fly.’ ‘Teaching’ falcons how to fly is relatively new in the falconry literature. For the most part it is not needed.

With these new perspectives on weight management, the developmental sequences of young falcons and the cognitive abilities of falcons, I soon abandoned training falcons. I began to understand what motivated my falcons to remain faithful when flying for extended periods of time at the limits of binoculars. Enlisting the natural growth and development of falcons and understanding the concepts of fidelity exposed me to another level of falconry that could be routinely experienced.

Most falconers already know most of what is written in our recent publication. What I bring to the table is clarification of well-established practices. The idea of natural development, self-actualization and eventually being free of the scale add clarity to what many falconers have already experienced. Encouraging the falconer to trust his/her falcons through understanding the falcon’s mindset allows each falconer to take his/her relationships with both falcons and people to the next level.

Ed_with_groupI began to assemble my experiences with flying falcons that reflected the natural attributes of falcons instead of the dogma of training techniques. This more liberal approach allowed me to observe the response of falcons being flown at quarry. The subtle influence of eye contact between predator and prey provided insights to the benefits of falcons being flown slightly out of position instead of directly overhead. The story in the book about the Black Shaheen followed by the section on eye contact outline this influence on my approach to falcon management. Most birds of prey will respond in a positive and natural way if managed to their best benefit. Each section of the book carries this simple theme to my approach.

In the long run my efforts are simply a synthesis of what traditional falconers always knew and what contemporary falconers have replaced with structured training regimes. Read the book with the knowledge that my approach is no more than a perspective supported by personal experience. I encourage the reader to use my perspective in a way that improves their falconry rather than emulating mine.

Authors & Contributors

Ed Pitcher

Ed_Portrait2"1969 changed my life; it is still changing my life. I watched a young prairie falcon land on a lure, a dead pigeon in fact. The falcon was out to hack. She was not tame but she would tolerate the falconer and me without notice. Something awakened in me. I couldn't take my eyes off this falcon. Every feather, every move, everything about this bird captivated me. My life was changing right then. I was to become a falconer.

Unable to pinpoint the origins of my basic philosophy towards falconry, I has early on accepted the belief that any raptor brought in to my hand, should do no worse than if left to its own devices. My hope was to fly these magnificent birds, as they were described in the litereature; not just in falconry literature but also in the works of naturalists, egg collectors, and the fans of peregrinesaroundthe world.

My favorite piece in the following from The Hawks of North America:

'The Peregrine Falcon is perhaps the most highly specialized and superlatively weill-developed flying organism on our planet today, combining to a marvelous degree the highest powers of speed and aerial adroitness with massive, war-like strength. A powerful, wild, majestic, independent bird, living on the choicest of clean, carnal food, plucked fresh from the air or the surface of the waters, rearing its young in the nooks of dangerous mountina cliffs, claiming all the atmosphere as its domain, and fearing neither beast that walks nor bird that flies, it is the very embodiment of noble rapacity and lonely freedom. It has its legitimate an important place in the great scheme of things, and by its extinction, if that should ever come, the whole world would be impoverished and dulled.'

G.H. Thayer, 1904

If the falcons I fly don't take dominion of the atmosphere, if they don't claim the sky and fly with the boldness of ownership, I look to myself with guilt. I feel that I have robbed the bird of its natural talents. I have failed myself in not realizing my own goals and the commitment I had made to the falcons.

I see each hawk I've flown as an opportunity to witness its singular talent and finesse. Every falcon, given the opportunity to develop its own talents, surpasses my ability to train it. Every falcon that I have 'trained' has been diminished. My interference with the falcon's natural development, by using a rigid training program, has only led to mediocre flights of limited space, time and intent."

Ed Pitcher is a Biologist, who recently retired from a long career in Nursing. He and his wife Barabra now reside near Malad, Idaho, in a home in the hills powered entirely by wind and solar, on enough acres that he puts out a young group of peregrines to hack each year.


Ricardo Velarde


"I have been involved in falconry for close to forty years. Ed Pitcher and I met at the Alamosa falconry meet in 1978. One of the many great stories in this book and I use it to introduce Ed Pitcher on this webpage and in the book.

After becoming great friends and flying falcons together, I knew Ed had a very unique way of managing his falcons, and the idea to writing a book emerged. Twenty five years later it became a reality.."

Ricardo Velarde was born in Mexico City in 1957, the second child of five brothers. Involved in sports from a very young age, he was a springboard and platform diver for many years. While in High School, a friend showed him a falconry book that caught his imagination, and soon after, he started working as a craftsman, making falconry equipment.

Later on he was recruited to compete as a diver for Brigam Young University in Provo Utah, where he met several great falconers of the time who helped him get more involved in the sport, including Gerald Richards who came up with the idea of the Sky Trials, which has now become a world known event. When Ricardo moved to Reno, Nevada, to work on a falcon-breeding project with Dave Jamieson, he also acquired the Pete Asborno bell-making business. At a small coffee shop there, he met the owner who later became his wife, and has always been very supportive of his Falconry and Sports haabits.

Many years later, they moved to Park City, Utah where he fell in love with his new therapy sport, short track speed skating. Another hobby of his, knife making, has turned into a way to make a living, and his knives are now in demand all over the world. Finishing this book, after so many years, accomplishes another objective in Ricardo's interesting and rich life.


Andrew Ellis

Ellis"It is with fond recollection that I remember back to an afternoon visit with Ed Pitcher. I listened awestruck as he recounted experiences he had with many of the falcons he had flown. When asked by Ricardo to contribute to this new volume, I did not hesitate. Ed's unique viewpoint and freethinking appraoch towards training falcons has become for me a breath of fresh air. It has been a great honor to be involved with both Ricardo and Ed on this book. I hope you take from it as much inspiration as I and many others will."

Andrew Ellis' artwork is highly regarded in the falconry world. His depictions of hawks, eagles and falcons adorn the walls of falconers the world over. A falconer himself, he has spent many hours in the field, working with birds of prey, primarily falcons and particularly his beloved peregrines.

Andrew's passion for painting the natural world was revealed at an early age. Growing up in rural Devon, he was drawn to studying wildlife. He continues to live in the southwest, with his wife Donna, and their two children, and is still very much inspired by the surrounding wildlife.

Whilst studying at Exeter College of Art and Design (1987-89), he won a British Association Shooting and Conservation competition, and also secured his first contract to illustrate Ranulf Raynor's "The story of the sporting gun."

Andrew's work has been featured in many falconry, shooting and wildlife publications; his work is collected worldwide and he has exhibited as far afield as the Middle East, America and Europe. Andrew's artwork captures the best of the beauty of wildlife in its natural habitat, and he manages to capture the moment that he is portraying perfectly, which is only possible when the artist is truly passionate about his craaft and his subject matter.


Bernd Poppelmann

Poppelman"When Ricardo first called and asked me if I would be willing to contribute some of my paintings to a new falconry book, and he further explained that the book was not a 'how-to book,' but one with new approaches to the sport of falconry, along with some ideas not yet published, I agreed at once. I know my decision was right and I'm very honored to have contributed to such a book. I feel this new falconry book is needed by every falconer."

Bern Poppelmann, born in 1946, lives in Steinfurt, Germany. His work in a variety of different medai is best known fo anatomoically correct wildlife paintings characterized by intimate individualism. A true nature lover, he took lessons, not in an art classroom, but in the habitat of his untamed subjects. His depictions of wild birds are alive with spectacular detail and portray his dep knowledge and respect for his feathered friends. All of his anial pictures are bringing out the individual, shwoing the viewer not only their unique personality but also the essence of their being, as creatures of the wild. The allure, of his graphic and almost tactilereproductions, is to be drawn into a lively scene of nature, not just a still but a photographic document. His detail oriented precision illustrates the fragile beauty of wildlife in our modern world. Poppelmann's mission to promote wildlife habitat preservation to the best of his talent is at the heart of his lifelong committment to nature. His work has been exhibited worldwide.


Daryl Peterson

Daryl_w-bird"Ed has articulately described his views on flying a falcon in a manner which compliments the nature of the bird and allows the innate talents to be expressed in the various aspects of the relationship."

Daryl Peterson grew up on a ranch in a remote area of American West, where a nesting pair of Golden Eagles and an intense interest in birds led him to discover falconry at an early age. A few years later he met Gerald Richards who became a close older friend and mentor. Ed Pitcher and Ricardo were mutual friends of Gerald and Daryl became captivated by the high-flying falcons. He has enjoyed drawing and painting birds since he was a youngster and has been published in North American Falconry and American Falconry magazine. Daryl now lives in Idaho, just down the valley from the Pitchers, with his beautiful wife, two boys and a daughter (named Anatum). He has continued his lifelong pursuit of falconry and currently flies peregrines and a golden eagle. He has had the pleasure of flying falcons for many years with Ed and seeing his ideas and thoughts on falcons finally collected and now put in to print.



Readers Say

Responses from early readers around the world

This book being released quite recently, I would like to mention that it is indeed great and probably one of the greatest books about the art of flying falcons. But besides that, I also strongly believe that a lot being told in the book can also be of big value for sparviters and austringers. Books are books, but this one is really different. It can and will really truly improve the understandings of a lot of falconers reading it, by that improving their falconry skills. Sometimes to very far extends. It is a great read, and the high levels of knowledge and understandings coupled with a very pleasent writing style make this book a joy to read.

Wilfred Berendsen


I recently got the Pitcher book which I am avidly reading each night. Although I am only 1/3 way through it is everything I thought it would be and now takes top spot in my modest library. I turn every page in excitement and anticipation yet won't rush it as I want to digest as much as I can first read. This is the first book in many years I can say I am learning something new in a sport I have been practicing for over 30 years!

Mark Williams


Having been 'held up' a bit over the Christmas holidays due to work committments, I finished the book yesterday. I liked it a lot! It was a pleasure to actually read a falconry book that goes beyond the usual stuff. After Frederick of Hohenstaufen's book this book is now my second favourite falconry book.

As I said to Frank Bond once (and what most European falconers would find tremendously 'blasphemic'): Despite a very short falconry history of only a few decades, the American falconers have more than surpassed the Europeans with their 1000+ years of documented history on the longwing front! You guys are free from the historic 'burden' that many falconers over here suffer and have difficulties escaping the resulting narrow falconry-mindset from. I find it extremely important to preserve the cultural value of falconry as a hunting art, but as the book quotes rightly, every art/tradition that doesn't evolve and goes with the time, is destined to die.

As you might have heard from Robert Bagley, I'm the project leader for Austria to get our falconry recognized as an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. From that perspective I can say that your book is a prime example of how our passion is a living, developing intangible cultural heritage. Greetings from Austria

Christian Habich


I've read the book now and would like to give some feedback on the book. It is a great work and really stands out amongst what I have read so far on waiting on falconry (mostly german and english literature). I must admit that I am away from falconry for ten years now, but everything I have found and read until then seems poor compared to "the book". I think it was a good idea to keep the description on developing the falcon from capture until flights on homers so descriptive and excessive. That way the philosophy of Ed's development tactics were sure to become very clear.

Some fifteen or twenty years ago I translated some of Ed's articles from books and magazines to german for some friends here in Germany. Waiting on falconry in Germany is not possible in the ways you guys can enjoy it in those vast open landscapes. In Germany there are only few places suitable for waiting on. The problems are mainly caused by administrative restrictions, lack of game due to excessive agriculture or the high grade of urban sprawl so that the next distraction like a village with pigeons is too close to allow falcons to fly and develop like you can. None the less - the articles I translated gave us motivation to change many of the traditional methods and rethink our approach so that we could see better performances from the falcons.

Back to the book. It was easy and fluent to read, even for me as non native english speaking person. The frequent live episodes of epic flights as introductions to some chapters was a good idea to keep the reader interested. Throughout the book stands Ed's attitude of developing a falcon versus training it. It became obvious that he gained very deep insight into falcon's minds and behaviors and how he developed and modified his methods and reactions to falcon's behaviors. Honest Kudos to you and Ed on this great book!

Best regards,
Kilian Schweiger


I have finished reading the book about two weeks ago and I must say it is fantastic. This Ed Pitcher is quite a guy, isn't he? It is great to read how he approaches falconry from a completely different angle than traditional falconry methods would teach you. I very much like his approach of trying to fully understand his falcons and to let them develop naturally, guided by their genetic push. Managing a falcon towards self actualisation is certainly very different from traditional training methods, but fully makes sense to me. Even if some people may struggle to fully apply Ed's method to their environment, the book gives some fresh impulses. Although you said that I should read the book first before I recommend it to other falconers, I have told some friends about it already and they have read it too. They all think that the book is great. However, I would love to meet Ed Pitcher myself one day to ask him a few more details which are not mentioned in the book. These details may not be important for the bigger picture and the context, but they are still interesting for the practising falconer. I also like the layout and the illustration of the book. The pictures are brilliant and go hand in hand with the philosophy of the project. Well done, the two of you! Please also give my regards to Ed Pitcher,



I finished the book last weekend. Be be honest, it was the best falconry book I have ever read. Congratulations to you and Mr. Pitcher! It was really impressing and often an eyeopener for me. As I am just 36 years old and practicing falconry for only nine years now, and so would call myself just a beginner, I think I could get an extra support for my futural falcon flying. I am a little bit fixed on tiercel peregrines and as it is hard to find enough prey in my area, like partridge or pheasants, I often use racing homer as Mr. Pitcher describes it. At the moment I fly my second tiercel, which regularly flies directly into the sky and stoops from a pitch which is quite hard to follow by binoculars. So I had some flights in which I could only decide to release the pidgeon after getting sure where the falcon is by telemetry. So I am really not diappointed by the work the small bird does. But if I meet other guys, who focus on having their bird circeling directly over their head in some hundred feet hight, catching a pheasant, and then being told that the way you do it is not the right one, makes me feel sad. Normally when I leave the house going out with the bird, I say to my girlfriend that I just go out to let the tiercel fly. I never thought about these words but after finishing your book, I think that I am perhaps a little bit on my "wright" way handling my bird. Your book gives me the feeling that having the goal to let your falcon develop instead of focussing in killing something is a good way to start and none to feel ashame for. All the best from Germany.


The Flying of Falcons: I bought it, devoured it, and genuinely appreciate Ed and Recardo for putting this in my hands. Truly thought provoking, and held the promise of teaching old dogs new tricks. Thanks Ed!!

Ralph Rogers


I have been flying longwings for 40 years and didn't know what to expect from this book. When I received it I read it in two sessions. I found the material interesting, fun to read, and quite thought provoking. I'm looking forward to using some of Ed's approaches on my next bird. I also have a 4 year old female peregrine that is not flying like I want. I'm thinking about how to use some of the books concepts to improve this bird's performance.

The book itself is high quality with wonderful artwork. My favorate is the falcons on the cadge. Thank you for making this contribution to the body of falconry literature.

Paul Mascutch


I have been flying large longwings since the early eighties and am excited about this book. A brief look at it will tell you that it is unusual in its style and intent; a thoroughly intellectual approach that is so needed in the American falconry community today.

Ron Kearney


This book that has arisen from Ed Pitcher's writing and Ricardo Velarde's "producing" deserves a bookshelf all its own. I suspect I'm not the only one who, deep down, flies their falcons with one eye on just not losing the bird. Ed has addressed and given voice to concepts that some of us might have brushed against, felt at a subconscious level, or sensed the pulse of, but were reluctant, unable, or unwilling to analyze an articulate. "There must be something more to this." At the very least, Ed has presented a different way of approaching this practice and an exciting challenge. He may, in fact, have pulled back a veil for us that few falconers in history have touched.

John Wennergren


I put it off as long as I could, I didn't want it to end. I finished reading the book 15 minutes ago and felt driven to comment. "The Flying of Falcons" is one of my favorite books. The conversational, almost dialogue like tone makes the book feel more like a companion than just a "read." I saw the video of Ed joking about "Stories that Ed Pitcher told me" by Richardo Velarde but, it would be a shame not to get more onto paper. Then again, it could be a monuemental task to match, let alone exceed want you've already accomplished. You and Mr. Pitcher have probably discouraged a lot of would-be falconry writers. Thanks again,

Jonathan Nikkels


Thank you for this book, it has revolutionized my hawking. Hawking? Yes I am applying much of this thought to flying my goshawk. I struggled with his development not realizing what was going on. He was simply growing up. I became focused on his or should I say, my hunting and making kills. We had some beautiful flights this season marred by not catching and killing partridge. Yet he kept chasing them whenever they would fly and in the process learned to watch my dog for points and to trust my ability to get him in position for flights. In short we became a team. I think I stand on the brink of a breakthrough for next season as I learn to fly my hawk and hunt, rather than just hunt with my hawk. My delightful wife was right all along. She said my hawk was training me. I'm glad he didn't give up too early, I think I will get it right eventually.

Carlos Rodriques


Hello Ricardo and Ed,

I don't know if Ed has email and if so, I would like to be sharing my progress as I read your book and my thoughts with each of you. I am a slow reader, but have read my way to page 80.  But at this point of what I have read, I am loving what is written here. Going back to the first time I read the 1976 article printed in NAFA's Hawk Chalk, " Bench Training the Eyass Prairie Falcon " by Richard Holz.  That article changed my falconry and opened up my thinking of possibilities.  I was drawn out of the narrow focused ways I had learned falconry.  It helped me battle the fears I had of losing my birds and allowed me to experience falconry in a more open light. I was given a glance of what a falcon might become were I to get out of the way.  It was my time to learn more from my falcon and her development, than at any point in my falconry before then.  I have never looked at flying birds in the same way. Much of what I have read to this point, explains so much of what I was witnessing unfold back then.  In 1979 I had thought about what was said and not said in the article by Rick. I had spent three years thinking about how I might try it and what I would do. Raising this 21-24 day old eyass prairie falcon I took from an Oregon cliff was done differently than any bird before then.  I called her " Silver " because of the dry lakebed not far away from her eyrie and the small Oregon desert town of Silver Lake. My thought and goal was to have here develop in my care as close to the natural timeline she might in a wild condition.  I tried not to hinder her natural desire to fly on the day she first could.  Because the lure was the way I was to recover her were she to fly off, she was introduced to it at a young age.  Along with it, small birds tied to it.  Always allowed to eat until she stepped off on her own.  Dummy transmitter on her leg since 24-25 days of age, she paid no mind to it.  Anklets there as well and hood training for later transport to the ridge.  When I came home from work I opened the door to the large free flight breeding building and she would run outside and into our yard while I worked in the garden. She learned freedom to look, roam among the plants and see the valley stretched out below our home.  Taking in her world as she knew it. Since the lure was what she ate on, it was recognizable to her were she to fly to something.  Allowed to fly onto the roof when she could. She was not hindered in her need to fledge.  With live transmitter replacing the dummy.  I would sit next to her on the roof top as she flapped and talked with excitement.  With afternoon breezes blowing up the slope we live on, she launched into it, talking the whole way. Making circles out over our open pastures and returning to talk about it. A new world opening up to both of us.  1979 was the year of my awakening.  The following four months spent on the ridge allowed me to see how I was the only thing standing in the way of this bird becoming a falcon.  I won't continue on with this.  I have since learned that the Bench Training that You and others in your group were doing back then, was an group effort contained in what was written about in the article by Rick Holz.  I have known this for a long time now. My falconry has never been the same since that year.  While I have in no way continued to learn as you and other have, What I did learn allows me to now read what is written here with a clear understanding. It is causing me to learn again and look for understanding.  I am also aided in understanding by a lifetime of watching wild peregrine eyries each year since I was young.  Clearly they show us so much of their world and abilities rarely seen in normal falconry. I am loving what I read here and Thank You for writing this.  It stirs a lot of emotion in me to write and tell you this.  I am grateful for the chance to learn more and for what was shared in the beginning years through the 1976 article.  This is Gold for those of us who appreciate what is being told here.

From Oregon

Dan Fenske

Hi Guys,

Hot dog, my "Flying of Falcons" book finally arrived.  Man, it's been two or three weeks since Ricardo said he'd be mailing it soon...how long do you expect a fella to wait?  This is just like waiting for Christmas when I was a kid.  Not to mention the added pressure of having to be good or my wife wouldn't let me have it.  But now it's here!  And all I can say is WOW, you guys really outdid yourselves.  The packaging was a little like a set of Russian nesting boxes, but when I finally chewed my way down to the book, I found the cool wax seal that even made my wife say, "Man, that's neat."  Between the aging-eye-friendly large text and Andy's color illustrations, I can't imagine how you could have made the book more attractive or user friendly.   And I'm sure that's nothing compared to the information included in the text.  We've all been waiting years to pick your brains about this stuff, now we have it right here in our hands. Thank you both for your dedication and determination in writing this book and for your attention to detail when it came to the publishing and presentation.  It arrived in such perfect condition I almost hate to open it...but I will.  Eventually it will be bent, battered and worn as any truly useful book should be.  I look forward to giving it many years of loving abuse as I read and study every chapter.             
Congratulations On A Job Well Done !!!



Hi Mr Velarde,

I received the book on Friday. I had a lot of things to do this weekend but could not put the book down once I started reading. I'm devouring this book. I love the way the concepts are explained. Very nice layout and pictures as well. Thank you to you and Ed Pitcher for taking to write down so elegantly your experience and ideas.



Mr Pitcher,

I just want to tell you that I have been conversing with Ricardo for a couple years now trying to get a hold of the mythical Ed Pitcher book that was someday going to be in print. Once in print, I (for the first time in a VERY long time) had to really look at expenses due to the effect of the economy on my companies cash flow. The book, for a little while, was an expense I was trying to resist. Another run of Boyd's Quail was more important at the time! ;)

That said, I finally could stand it no longer and called Ricardo and slapped the book on a credit card and the rest, well, the rest in history.

I want to thank you for the amount of work and years I know that you and Ricardo poured into this work. This book may very well (and SHOULD) set the tone for American falconry for generations to come. Truthfully, I have only read the first 120 or so pages and yet I devoured that in a sitting and just now came up for air. I am going right back to it after this email. I assure you!

I am a rabid reader of both philosophy and falconry books. NEVER, have I seen the two fused so brilliantly into one read. Already you have put into words what I have always longed for my falconry to be. This is the breath of fresh air I needed. I was becoming VERY discouraged by the "he's too fat, he's too low" drone from everyone, constantly. This book has already changed my falconry. I suspect, it has changed my life as well and I am nowhere near finished with it! I can honestly say that I will be starting back at page one the moment I finish it.

Maybe this was more than I should have written. The truth of the matter is that I just want to thank you and Ricardo for changing my falconry (which is a large part of me and my life) forever. Money well spent. :)


Jason Hausman

Hey Richardo
I tried to post a comment on the forum, but I think it's locked. If you want here is what I wrote: I put it off as long as I could Richardo, I didn't want it to end. I finished reading the book 15 minutes ago and felt driven to comment. "The Flying of Falcons" is one of my favorite books. The conversational, almost dialogue like tone makes the book feel more like a companion than just a "read." I saw the video of Ed joking about "Stories that Ed Pitcher told me" by Richardo Velarde but, it would be a shame not to get more onto paper. Then again, it could be a monuemental task to match, let alone exceed want you've already accomplished. You and Mr. Pitcher have probably discouraged a lot of would-be falconry writers. Thanks again, -Jonathan

Hello Ricardo,

By now you must have figured out what a slow reader I am. I couldn't sleep last night and got back into the book. I must have covered 100 pages and that is unlike me.  Lost in what I was reading.  The more of this I read, the more I see the importance of what is being said. I am having a good look at myself and seeing a lot of my failures in my falconry.  I wish I had seen these ideas develop long ago when I was younger.  I can only wish now that I might have a chance to see someone's birds fly like what is being described.  What great insight is found in this book.  It is impressive book to read.  



I am genuinely touched to have received your mail and kind words. When I first heard the noise that you were making about the forthcoming publication of this book I wondered what all the fuss was about. Now halfway through my fifth reading of the book from cover to cover I understand how important it was to get Ed to put this all down in black and white and why you all worked so hard to achieve this.

That Ed has such an easy writing style and an ability to gel his thoughts with real life examples and experiences makes what is a goldmine of 24 carat information into a classic which is then further enhanced by some of the best colour prints there are.

When you are in the UK next it would be great to meet up.



Thank you Ricardo the book is both beautiful and an engrossing read. It easily lives up to and surpasses your advertising of it. I suspect it will become a classic. Thanks again.

Hello, I write this through eyes that are partly glued together after reading in bed until the early hours !!! yes I’ve got the book and it is fantastic. I took a few pics and wrote some of my initial thoughts on my web site www.falconryworld.com . I could only review the small section I’d read at the time, but I wanted to publicise the  book, so took the first opportunity I could. I’ve also added the pictures and a comment on the International falconry forum, although I’m afraid to say not many falconers seem to visit that site, but its worth a try.

It was fantastically presented; I love the wax seal. I need another book already for a friend of mine Simon, and possibly another for myself as I’d like one on my shelf that isn’t battered as this one will be in the next few weeks. I still think it might be well worth your while to see if Robert will add the book to the Marshall web site at some point. That way I would hold a stock of them here and they would ship to falconers in the EU from the UK reducing the shipping costs. Maybe after the initial push for the book do a few dozen limited signed copies available through Marshall.

You’ve both done a fantastic job from what I’ve read so far, it truly is set to change the way many falconers think about our sport, well for those brave enough. After meeting up with yourself and Ed last year, I purchased another tiercel peregrine, flew him at top weight to try and get my bird to train me, rather than the other way around. He didn’t let me down, but its not for the faint hearted over here in the UK, it’s a good job I had some good telemetry. (something I seem to have a lot of)
I feel the book will certainly help me to hone my skills and will bring another dimension to the sport. Let me know if there is any way I can help. I’ll write a review for the BFC journal if no one else has done so already and see if any other falconers want a copy along with Simon to have sent across together. Hope you like my initial thoughts on www.falconryworld.com

Yours truly,



Down from t...
Down from the Heavens Down from the Heavens
Rhine valle...
Rhine valley Peregrine Rhine valley Peregrine
My Girl Mis...
My Girl Missy My Girl Missy
Tiercel Pea...
Tiercel Peales and Sharptail grouse Tiercel Peales and Sharptail grouse
Bolt from t...
Bolt from the blue Bolt from the blue
Young Afric...
Young African tiercel Young African tiercel
Out of the ...
Out of the Heavens Out of the Heavens
The Meeting...
The Meeting of Young Minds The Meeting of Young Minds
The struggl...
The struggle The struggle
Granite Tow...
Granite Tower Granite Tower
Gyrkin on S...
Gyrkin on Sage Grouse w- RT Transmitter Gyrkin on Sage Grouse w- RT Transmitter
The Unseen ...
The Unseen Assasin The Unseen Assasin
Peregrines ...
Peregrines on a cadge Peregrines on a cadge
Barbary on ...
Barbary on pigeon Barbary on pigeon
Youngsters ...
Youngsters at hack Youngsters at hack
Tiercel wit...
Tiercel with Partridge Tiercel with Partridge
Immature Fe...
Immature Female Prairie falcon Immature Female Prairie falcon

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