Falconry in the UAE

Last week Kevin and I spent the afternoon at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Heritage Exhibition. Food, crafts, and FALCONS! I was captivated by the birds. They were so beautiful. Many dealers were present selling everything a bird owner could possibly need, from frozen rats to custom fitted hoods. I could have spent hours taking photos. Below are just a few of the images from that day, followed by an article explaining the history of falconry in the UAE.

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http://www.sheikhmohammed.co.ae/vgn-ext-templating/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2bec4c8631cb4110VgnVCM100000b0140a0aRCRD

Falconry is an integral part of desert life which has been practiced in the UAE for centuries. Originally, falcons were used for hunting, to supplement the Bedouin diet with some meat, such as hare or houbara. In the time before the UAE was formed, and before the discovery of oil allowed the development of roads and communication systems, hunting expeditions were also frequently used as a way for the tribal sheikhs to ‘tour’ their territory and keep in touch with the latest developments in areas which were otherwise incommunicado. The sheikh would hunt during the day, then a desert majlis would be held around the campfire in the evenings, when the Bedouin would come to pay their respects and raise with him any matters of concern.

Nowadays, falconry is practiced purely for sport. The main prey for falcons in the UAE are MacQueen’s bustard, houbara, or hare. There is now a very successful captive breeding programme in the UAE for houbara, ensuring that this popular sport does not eliminate this species.

Sunrise…sunset

The best thing about living on the water is the view.  I love watching the sun come up between the nearby apartments a I wait for the taxi every morning.   In the evening, we watch the sun set behind the main city  of Abu Dhabi.  The blowing dust makes for some interesting images.  I will be taking more photos in the coming weeks, but here is a sample.

The view one morning while waiting for my taxi.
The view one morning while waiting for my taxi.
Looking across the lagoon towards the main island at sunset.
Looking across the lagoon towards the main island at sunset.
Lots of mirrored buildings.  Constructions cranes are seen in nearly every direction of the city.
Lots of mirrored buildings. Constructions cranes are seen in nearly every direction of the city.

Home in Abu Dhabi

After leaving New York City on Aug 12, we arrived in Abu Dhabi the following day. We spent nearly three weeks in a hotel while we searched for a home in Adu Dhabi. After looking at apartments all over the city, we found the perfect flat, just off the main island, on Reem Island. We are in the shortest building on the island, only 10 floors but the view is amazing. Our apartment is on the 6th floor, overlooking the lagoon. The commute to my campus takes about 15 minutes via taxi and a mall is only a short bus ride away. (We don’t have a car, but the taxis and buses are very good and inexpensive.) Below are views from the lagoon and surrounding area.

We are on the sixth floor.
We are on the sixth floor.
View from our balcony.
View from our balcony.
These are the buildings surrounding our building.  Look closely...my building is in the lower right corner.
These are the buildings surrounding our building. Look closely…my building is in the lower right corner.