Heya! My name is Leah (although I typically go by Aviva or Avi) and I'm not quite a falconer yet. I'm hoping to learn more about it in this forum. I consider falconry to be an art that must be heavily respected before beginning, and I don't want to get a bird until I know I'm truly ready. That's why I came here.

I'm 16, a Junior in high school in Wappingers Falls, NY (although I live in Poughkeepsie). I don't know any falconry clubs or groups in my area, and was about to give up hope of finding falconers I could talk to and learn from, until I found this forum. Boy was I surprised when I came on and noticed a big banner on the side with "Online Users: 445"! My heart honestly jumped, considering most of the posts I had found in regards to some questions I googled were from years ago.

I'm very interested in having Ospreys at some point, since they are beautiful birds and getting to hunt with one is my dream; although I plan to start with either an American Kestrel, a Red-Tailed Hawk or a Harris's Hawk. I also am interested in getting a Northern Goshawk in the future once I'm more experienced.

My mother recently got me the book Falconry & Hawking - The Essential Handbook Including Equipment, Training, and Health by Philip Golding. I've been trying to study terms and bird identification. I can attach the scientific names to certain common raptors by heart (Falco sparverius, Buteo jamaicensis, Pandion haliaetus, etc.), I have a pretty good idea of the training process and I'm pretty confident in my bird anatomy, but I'm hoping to learn what else I should expand upon.

I'd love help in my journey to become a falconer! I have no experience, I'm young, and I feel very unprepared, so if I say anything I shouldn't, like a false assumption or wanting to do something that might be ridiculous, I sincerely apologize. I have never had any experience with raptors before, and I don't know some things a falconer would know. There's nothing I'd love more than for you to correct me!

I hope everything will work out for me on this forum, and when I'm able, I'll be sure to give back to the community!

-- Leah Gregory