Hello, Nafex (NAFEX?)

I was referred to these boards by Eric Edwards of the Florida Falconers' Association and am excited to be able to have access to so many knowledgeable minds. I am twenty years old as of June and I wish I had known that it was possible for me to learn falconry sooner! I grew up on a lake and saw all kinds of native falcons and hawks, but until I was a teenager I had no idea that people still trained them for hunting- and even when I finally saw a falconry demonstration, I was somehow under the impression that you had to be born into it to be able to do that. Yeah, I was a naive kid...

When I was about fourteen my dad gave me his old film camera. That's when I started hiking- I went everywhere, miles and miles, days on end. We don't have many big animals (just the usual deer and raccoons and the occasional gator) but I got rather familiar with the red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks in the area seeing as they wouldn't dash at the first sign of my dog. Some of my fondest memories as well growing up were canoeing through the cypresses and seeing bald eagles tending their nests.

In short, if there's anything I can do to help these birds or be able to observe them more, I'm game. Now that I've finished my second year of college I also have plenty of free time, so I figured now is as good a time as ever to start putting some serious effort into learning more about possibly becoming an apprentice falconer. I have just started volunteering at the Avian Reconditioning Center in Apopka, Florida and look forward to learning as much as I can.

Thank you for your time and for providing this great forum so that people like me aren't lost in the dark!