Similar to cats and dogs, birds have been a reliable partner of human beings since the latter emerged as the dominant creatures of the planet. And when it comes to the feathered companions, none have evoked such romanticism than that of birds of prey like falcons. But how far can history stretch the earliest coexistence between two completely different species?
According to Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), one of the earliest documented evidence of falcons assisting hunters dates back as far as 2,000 BC in Ancient China. In fact, falcons were considered royal gifts during the Heian dynasty. From China, falconry became a way of life in the Middle East (Persia and Arabia) after 300 years.
Eventually, in 300 BC, this practice reached Western civilization through Aristotle’s chronicles. From the Early Middle Ages until the 1800’s, falconry established its reputation as a ‘sport for the high-born.’
Curiously, several places around the world have tried to rekindle the bygone popularity of falconry in contemporary times. However, this type of exotic lifestyle could not gain a strong foothold in the United States considering the risk of genus endangerment. In fact, the peregrines were listed as endangered species for 39 years since the 1970’s. It wasn’t until 1999 when the Clinton Administration lifted its status after nearly four decades of environmental adjustment.
Knowledge of falcon prices only comprises a fraction of what people need to know when it comes to raising these high-born birds of prey. Simply put it, this type of consumer investment requires far more than cash and curiosity.
Average Price Estimate
How much does a falcon cost? This question only scratches the surface of the issue concerning the ownership of these proud birds of prey (more of this in the later part of the article). But strictly for the sake of the quantifiable figure, the conservative estimate for the average cost of purchasing a falcon is anywhere roughly between $200 and $1,000.
It is important to understand that exact falcon prices may vary widely due to its particular breed. Case in point: a European falcon breed costs around $1,000. A far more exotic breed like the subspecies endemic in the Central Valley of California, the market price may climb up to $100,000.
Elite falconers from all over the world would consider Qatar as the so-called global capital of their lifestyle. It is here wherein the overall value of these birds of prey is meticulously assessed and appraised high enough to describe the contemporary equivalent of the ‘aristocratic/royal pastime.’
So how much does a falcon cost in Qatar? The average price range is between $27,460 and $109,800. However, it is also important to consider that since July of 2017, Qatar has been embroiled in a diplomatic crisis that puts international transactions and pastimes on hold effectively until its final resolution.
Life of a Falconer
Aside from asking, ‘how much does a falcon cost?’ one ought to ask, ‘what does it take to properly raise one?’ A respondent from the Quora online forum underscores one crucial fact that every curious individual should know in terms of owning a falcon – one has to be a falconer.
The current ecological policy in the United States practically forbids possession of potentially endangered wild animals. Falcons pretty much fit into the category of exotic creatures prohibited from coexisting in a conventional household. Being a falconer entails a complete lifestyle overhaul. Among the serious adjustments include (but not limited to) two-year apprenticeship under a general falconer, no vacations, and the meticulous oversight of the falcon’s health.
As for the apprentice falconer prerequisite, these are some of the basic cost inclusions presented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as of 2016-2017 (Note: costs may marginally fluctuate in the succeeding annual duration):
- Falconry application fee: $14.68
- Falconry license: $81.63
- Examination fee: $51.25
- Habitat inspection fee: $13.65 (One enclosure) or $273 (5 or more enclosures)
- Special raptor capture drawing application: $7.73
- Non-resident raptor capture permit: $334.50 (for non-Californians)
It is important to bear in mind that being granted the falconry license allows one to capture a falcon in the wilderness. In essence, accomplishing the following payable requirements mentioned gives anyone the viable option to acquire a falcon without necessarily buying from a wildlife supplier. Joining the North American Falconers Association completes the falconer profile. These are the membership costs one should take note:
- National membership: $45 per year
- Foreign membership: $65 per year
Overall Cost of Living
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to avoid falcon prices if one manages to capture a wild falcon breed permitted under the license rank. However, the upkeep expenditure required for the raising and caring of the bird of prey is something a falconer could not bypass. The demands of owning a falcon are considerable. It is crucial for prospective falconers to take note of the following aspects that include the overall cost of living:
Falcons consume morsels of its quarry during a hunting excursion. However, its prescribed standard indoor diet is a quail. The estimated cost for food is $2.5 per day. A freezer that is usually worth $500 can store a batch of the falcon’s long-term food supply.
The cost of the shelter greatly depends on the size. Falconry Art estimates the cost of materials for the average sized home-made enclosure at around $400 to $600. The Modern Apprentice also features a 50×34 feet flight cage aviary entailing an overall cost of around $10,300 for both the labor and the materials.
Apart from the enclosure, an outdoor perch may cost around $200 or more. One may also include the enclosure inspection fee in the overall cost of the falcon’s shelter.
Not all vet clinics are authorized or knowledgeable at examining falcons. But any health care facilities that diagnose and treat these exotic creatures would charge around $150 per visit. This does not yet include operations. Medical supplies may easily climb up to $500.
Security & Supplies
Each falcon must be implanted with the telemetry (tracking device) in case they stray far from the midst of the falconer. It is important to bear in mind that not all falcons raised among people can effectively survive on their own, especially considering the unfamiliarity of their new environment. This device would cost around $1,500. These are the following tools of the trade that entail a crude total estimate of $1,000: