You may have been one of those people who excelled at sports (and if you were, I really do admire you), however, I was never among that elite group of fit, perky, energetic individuals that could kick &@!$% in their chosen field. For me, it was a series of painful, embarrassing, awkward moments and Sysyphean tasks. Phys Ed was my nemesis. No happy-happy, no joy-joy. Which leads me to the point of this post.

I glimpsed P.E. joy this weekend.
Would you believe that a local college actually had falconry as a credit for P.E.?
How cool is that?!?

Last Sunday, the N. Georgia college offered a class presented by a falconer/raptor rehabilitator. A master falconer (who is also a coach at the college), organized the presentation and invited some other falconers to attend (my hubs included).  I tagged along and took a few photos.

As I sat in the classroom (reminiscing about the horrors of P.E.), I looked around at the students and wondered why they took this class.  Did they want to become falconers or did they hate P.E. as much as I did? Whatever the reason, not only did they escape the wrath of sweaty athletics, the door of a fascinating sport was opened to them. Only time will tell if any of them will walk through it and join the select group of those who have embraced the pursuit of falconry.

Here are a few photos taken from (at present) the only college level falconry course in the country.

Anatomy and Physiology

Raptor Anatomy and Physiology

Feathers and Flight

Discussing Feathers and Flight

The Cast

Presenting the Cast (An egg-shaped ball, consisting of feathers, bones, etc., which all hawks throw up after the nutritious part of their food has been digested.)

Raptor Rehabilitation

Raptor rehabilitaton tools - tube to feed or provide electrolytes for a raptor

Classroom filled with students and falconers

Classroom filled with students and falconers

Falconry class

An outside demonstration after the class

After the class for college students and demonstration for children was over, the students and falconers split up into different groups and went hunting.

Maddie captures a squirrel

Maddie, a Red-Tailed Hawk, captures a squirrel

I now have a new, albeit grudging respect for P.E.

What about you, did you like P.E.? (wait – before you say anything, take a moment to reminisce on the fetid stench of muggy locker rooms, heinous polyester shorts, bad hair days, being 13, cruel temperature extremes, archaic equipment and the fascist attitudes that often go with the teaching of team sports – sorry coaches. ) Ok, now you can answer.

  • Maricris

    Can I just tell you how happy I am to find your blog? I will admit, I've always been so fascinated with a hawk in flight and I thought it was weird that I do. It gets me all so excited when I see them flying or cruising up in the sky. Don't matter if I was driving, I just have to watch. I must be a hawk in my past life lol

    • falconerswife

      That is so sweet! I had never been really close to one until my husband became a falconer. They are amazingly beautiful and now I notice them everywhere and am so excited to see them – just like you are. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Deidre

    I went to the Australian Open tennis tournament a few years ago (to see james blake because he is a slice of FINE) and there was some guy with a falcon just chilling inside the tennis grounds. I thought it was a little odd.

    I hated PE. Dodgeball is the meanest game ever.

    I did grow up dancing though. and I know do yoga 5 times a week. so it's not like I am not active. I just don't particularly organised sports teams.

    • falconerswife

      I feel the same way. I love the outdoors and any type of exercise that you can get where you're not "working" to get it. I think it should be fun, like horseback riding, skipping through the waves on the beach or a treasure hunt, walking on a beautiful day and yoga rocks!

  • Elle

    I can fully understand the deep feeling memory of PE. I was reasonably popular in school so when my friends had to choose teams they came to me before the "event" and apologized profusely in advance. They were not going to choose me as a team mate but it wasn't persona,l it was just sports. Funny enough I understood and would have done the same in their sneakers. I wouldn't have chosen me for my team either. I had neither the talent nor interest in PE, what so ever!! All the excuses I have had to make as an adult were crafted and practiced to get out of PE; so over all it was a valuable experience. If we had such options, I would have taken the falconry class and hoped my bird would take the wise approach and not chose me either!

  • Crystal

    Falcons are so beautiful!!! We have a "Reptile Garden" about 20 miles from here where we get to see rescued falcons. My boys love it!! THat's so awesome that that university is offering that kind of diversity. Not everyone excels at sports….they don't require everyone to take art or literature…why p.e? And I'm an athlete living in a house full of little jocks…but I still very much see your point.

  • Rebel Chick

    I loathed P.E. class…I would try to get out of activities as often as possible because I hated sweating in front of the boys. The only thing worse than sweating in front of the boys was having to take a shower in the public locker rooms. Ugh.

  • Ashlee

    Falcons are so gorgeous! I loved this post :)

    Thank you for stopping by my blog on my SITS day!
    My recent post Sunday Citar- This old house

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