I have flown every type of falcon over the past 40 years, having them live in my house for 20 years. I managed the Peregrine release project in Pennsylvania, helping in the prevention of Peregrine Falcon extinction. I was one of the two people who started the legalization process of falconry in Delaware. I also recently wrote a book. I am a musician with videos on you tube.



Edit: I'll be back on tomorrow. Thanks for the questions everyone.

Edit: Good morning Reddit. I'll be happy to answer as many questions as you guys have today.

Edit: I've got some more pictures for you guys. http://imgur.com/LV5Ca,1DEPJ,3zJKE,zIUue,ceIVJ,XfqXB,TsI47#0

Comments: 211 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

CrawdadMagoo64 karma

Also here's a link to my book. I'm an aspiring author and I'd really appreciate the help.


cheesemonkie0320 karma

Buying it as soon as my paycheck comes

CrawdadMagoo20 karma

Thank you!!

jacob070632 karma


CrawdadMagoo29 karma

Check out NAFA on the internet. North American Falconry Association. This will give you lots of information. But the most important thing about Falconry is training. Read books on training.

strum_und_drang5 karma

I wonder if you know my Dad. He helped found NAFA and has done a lot of work on peregrines since.

CrawdadMagoo6 karma

What's his name?

herculestheworst23 karma

Captain Falco

CrawdadMagoo6 karma

Yes I knew him as Captain Falco Sir.

touxbronchiqueetrhum27 karma

Did you pick up on reddit's falcon theme this evening? Or is this an odd coincidence?

CrawdadMagoo64 karma

Yes well my son is a Redditor and said I should do this.

bigcitycrows26 karma

Nothing to say, sir, just that you are by far the most experienced and varied falconer I've ever seen on Reddit, and while most of the population will have the same general questions for you about falconry, those of us down in the lower rungs would do well to pay attention to you. I feel that this place, including myself, doesn't know enough to fully appreciate your being here.

Mr. Pollard, welcome!

CrawdadMagoo19 karma

Thank you sir! You're a wonderful man and I'm glad I'm appreciated.

ThatFantasticGuy23 karma

You sir have great facial hair.

CrawdadMagoo41 karma

Thank you! I call it the Magoo!

nanerpussu20 karma

Whats more important in falconry raw skill or persistence?

CrawdadMagoo37 karma

Neither! The most important thing to have as a falconer is love for birds and nature.

Kaputzer19 karma

How did you get into falconry?

CrawdadMagoo32 karma

When I was 12 I saw a kestrel falcon on a wire. I used a grass hopper and a net to catch it, and ever since I have been in love with birds.

MorningOatmeal15 karma

that's quite impressive, what happened after you caught it?

CrawdadMagoo61 karma

I took it home and my dad made me release it because falconry was illegal. I was so pissed.

skullgoroth11 karma

How do you catch a falcon with a grass hopper and a net?

CrawdadMagoo38 karma

I set a dead grasshopper on the ground next to the pole and sat there for 30 minutes until the kestrel landed on it. I just used a net to catch it.

Cwhite59119 karma


CrawdadMagoo29 karma

To become a falconer you must find a Master Falconer who will take you as an apprentice. You then must have a bird in your possession for 12 months. You do not have to take any classes but you do have to pass a test to obtain a license. Falconry to me is like being married or having a drug dependency, it consumes your entire life. You can expect to have it take up all of your time.

Schroedingers_gif24 karma

If people ask you what you do for a living do you say "I'm a Master Falconer"?

cause that would be awesome.

CrawdadMagoo37 karma

That is in fact what I say. I live in the Flint Hills of Kansas, 40 miles away from any town. For money I breed Gyr Falcons. http://gyrs.com/

strider37008 karma

just curious. How much does a Falcon cost?

CrawdadMagoo18 karma

Anywhere from $5000 to $20000

Rosehardt9 karma

Wow, no offence, but why so much? Are they hard to breed?

Von_Dredd11 karma

I'm not sure if you know this, but many well bred puppies can easily cost ~10k plus, and exotic cats (more directly comparable to this situation) can go far beyond ~75k.

While I do not breed birds of prey, I can only imagine due to the fact that they are birds and the fact that your genetic pool is much smaller, breeding them is indeed a pain in the ass.

CrawdadMagoo8 karma

Well put Vonn-Dredd. Falcons are difficult to breed in captivity. There are no moroe than seven people in the country who can do gyrfalcons

ProMarshmallo6 karma

Could you elaborate a bit more? Is this a "the only people you meet are nigh obsessed in the falconry community" life consumption or a "care/training of the bird is hard work requiring much dedication" kind of time sink? Just asking out of simple curiosity.

CrawdadMagoo17 karma

I would say most falconers fly their birds every day for at least two hours a day. It is certainly a time sink. It's not like owning a house pet.

Frajer12 karma

Have you ever seen the snl skit the falconer?

CrawdadMagoo22 karma

Yes. It's hilarious.

MorningOatmeal12 karma

What are some things you'd want people to know about falconry?

CrawdadMagoo22 karma

It takes an enormous amount of dedication. I take 4 or 5 hours out of the day, every day, to fly my birds. On top of that I have to feed them and clean them. Falconry is more than a sport, it's a lifestyle.

all_seeing_ey39 karma

I have a few questions:

  • You would have been hunting during "Operation Falcon". Do you have any stories to tell? Has the attitude toward falconers changed since those days?

  • What is the nature of your book?

  • Do you interact with raptor rehabilitation at all? Has the gap begun to close between the two groups?

Thanks for everything you've done for the sport and the birds!

CrawdadMagoo16 karma

  • Operation Falcon has been proven to be a farce. The attitude towards falconers have always remained kind. Falconry is known as a none-impact sport. I only takes two criminals to make everyone look bad. The federal government had a sting operation which led to 3 arrests. The rat, Jeff McPartlin, turned states evidence after a felony violation and betrayed the falconry community. Edit: There's a book on it, The Pilgrim and the Cowboy

  • My book is about a man's trek to be honest and virtuous. Even though his morals were in tact, the world crumbles around him.

  • Raptor Rehabilitation is a group of anthropomorphic bleeding hearts. Raptor biology provides the production of young each year, to compensate for the high mortality rate of raptors. Rehabilitating a raptor already slated for death is self indulgence. In short, it doesn't work.

bigcitycrows15 karma

Mr. Pollard, your views on rehab shock me. I'm in both raptor rehab (most of the birds that come in products of human damage, not normal lack of survival skills) and falconry, both started at roughly the same time and both born from a love of nature. Using raptor rehabilitation I hope to ensure a continuous healthy stock of wild raptors, and using falconry I hope to improve rehabbing.

How can you as someone who cares about raptors hold such a view, especially when this is exactly the kind of thing that contributes to the animosity of falconers against rehabbers and rehabbers against falconers, when both groups could be and often are of such help to one another?

CrawdadMagoo14 karma

I'm a realist, I'm not an idealist. I see it for what it is.

all_seeing_ey33 karma

Thanks for your answers :)

CrawdadMagoo5 karma

I'm here to please!

bold_arrow_of_time8 karma

Can you describe the connection between yourself and your falcon? Is it a mutual emotional relationship like man and dog, or is it more utilitarian?

CrawdadMagoo13 karma

I believe falcons to be one of the smartest creatures on earth. My relationship with my falcons are completely based on love. The birds I raise see me as a parent when they are a baby. When the bird matures it see's me as a mate.

logically7 karma

I'm currently researching why the populations of American Kestrels are dropping in North America. From your experience do you have any ideas? Also, have you seen the movie, "Kes"?

CrawdadMagoo3 karma

Yes. There are groups of people searching for government grants. There is nothing wrong with the population of kestrels in North America. The problem is the people counting them.

mrsquares7 karma

have any of your falcons ever turned on you?

CrawdadMagoo17 karma

Never! Funny story. When my son was young he would play with a baby gyr I owned named Nell. She would chase him around and he would laugh and they would play together all the time. When she matured and I flew her for the first time she stooped my son, grabbed onto his head, and pieced his skin with her talons. Nell was just playing with him though. Besides that, I've never had a falcon turn against me. Not saying I haven't gotten in fights with my birds, they have attitude.

eiendeeai6 karma

  1. Is being a falconer your full-time profession? If so, about how much do people like you make on average a year?

  2. Would it be difficult for someone with another profession (e.g. pharmacy) to learn falconry? Or would the time commitment make it not feasible?

  3. Can any raptor be flown by a master falconer, or does the bird have to have been trained for some time/from birth?

  4. For taking care of one falcon alone, approximately how much would the annual costs be? Additionally, what is the minimum amount of land owned recommended for owning a falcon?

CrawdadMagoo12 karma

  • Falconry generally doesn't bring any income. Though I breed falcons and sell them. The gyrs I produce can be sold anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000.
  • Falconry is simply a hobby. Yes in fact I have a friend who's a pharmacist and comes out to fly with me almost every day.
  • There are 2 types of falcons. Passage and Imprint. Imprint falcons are raised from a baby, passage are caught in the wild.
  • You need at least an acre or two to have appropriate housing. I pay about $4000 a year for food.

CerealGuy145 karma

What has been the most amazing thing that has happened to you while out with your Falcon?

CrawdadMagoo18 karma

This year more than any other year, I have had wild falcons join me, with my trained falcons and dogs, during the hunt. I love these experiences. A friend of mine stooped quarry and had a wild falcon stoop the quarry along with his falcon.

gettinhyphy5 karma

Do you use your falcons for hunting? If so what do you hunt?

CrawdadMagoo13 karma

Yes the sport of falconry is all about the hunt. I hunt ducks, quail, roughed grouse, rabbits(hawks), and my favorite quarry, prairie chickens.

Mash_tun3 karma

Do you think that it is responsible to hunt prairie-chicken, given the drastic declines in populations of most grouse species, and the potential listing of the lesser prairie-chicken?

CrawdadMagoo3 karma

Falconry is a completely none impact sport.

Mash_tun2 karma

You've got to elaborate, to say that there is no impact of additional hunting pressure is incorrect. If you're saying that there is no impact because the falcons would be hunting anyways is disingenuous, unless your birds have completely replaced the wild birds that would normally be hunting that territory.

all_seeing_ey33 karma

The hunts are conducted by all regular game laws, including bag limits. Falconry also has a much lower kill rate than gun hunting. The bird will only kill in about 1 in 8 attempts (varying based on the skill of bird, falconer, quarry, and use of flushing dogs etc.) and usually has to be traded off the kill with a piece of prepared meat. Once is is fed completely with a couple of trade off meals, it will not usually continue to hunt. This means a falconer will rarely fill a bag limit unless they hunt multiple birds simultaneously-which is another great rarity.

So I suppose one might say it is a relatively low impact sport...

(as with all falconry related info-ymmv based on how many master falconers read my post to pick it apart)

Mash_tun4 karma

I agree that it is likely a relatively low impact form of hunting in general. My main concern stemmed from his comment that prairie-chickens are one of his favorite quarry, given the precipitous decline in their populations over the last century, is it responsible? Based on his non-answer response to my original question it appears that while he obviously knows much about falconry, knowledge about the ecology and threats to species of concern appear to be lacking, this is also reflected in his anecdotal response regarding kestrel populations in answering another person's question.

CrawdadMagoo3 karma

The reason prairie-chickens are my favorite quarry is because they are hardest to catch. I generally catch no more than 3 a year and I promise you I do not hurt the population.

Zeoniic4 karma

Could i train one to kill cats and rabbits. My next door neighbour has both and they keep coming into my garden and shitting everywhere.

CrawdadMagoo1 karma

HAH I like the way you think. I doubt Reddit will though.

yunotho2 karma

While not a falcon in any sense, would it be possible to train a Golden Eagle in a similar way?

CrawdadMagoo3 karma

I know falconers who hunt fox with eagles.

lizardjoel2 karma

Do you know if its legal in Maryland? Also is there a age limit to do it?

CrawdadMagoo8 karma

Yes it's legal in every state except Hawaii. The age limit is 12 by federal law, but state laws may be different

zenkat2 karma

Can you be a falconer living in the city? While holding down a job?

CrawdadMagoo2 karma

As long as you have a place to hunt and train your birds.

Swiftysmoon2 karma

Is that a Gyrfalcon? Their white morph is one of my favorites among species.

Edit: listed the wrong species initially.

CrawdadMagoo2 karma

Yes that is a Gyrfalcon I hatched this past spring.

aoifedubghaill2 karma

Do you capture and tame the falcons yourself? if yes, how long does it take to tame them?

CrawdadMagoo3 karma

Yes I capture falcons all the time. It usually takes a week or two to get them where I can train them.

offersyouafakejob2 karma

Wow, it looks like you have had a long life with falcons. I book shows for a major casino in Los Vegas, let me know if you would ever consider doing a show because I could definitely get you a job in show business!

CrawdadMagoo2 karma

I do love fake jobs.

sonnackrm1 karma

Has your falcon ever killed someone's pet? Do you ever feed it people food? What's your opinion on light beer?

CrawdadMagoo4 karma

No. No. Piss water.

CooterSquirrel1 karma

Hello and thanks for doing this AMA! I've gathered a lot of info from your comments so far, so most of my questions have been answered - but I still have one!

I've been intrigued by birds for years, ever since working in a pet store as a teenager & working with various types of parrot. I've been the proud father of a baby Green Cheek Conure for almost a year now (his birthday/hatchday is coming up in February), and absolutely love the little dude. I've noticed, over the years, that it seems to take a specific type of personality to interact well with birds. One must be calm, confident & in-charge, but also gentle, slow, and very loving. Would you say that prior experience handling & interacting birds (albeit not falcons) would make a difference in one's ability to be a good falconer? (I hope that question makes sense, please let me know if it doesn't!)

CrawdadMagoo1 karma

Your experience with birds will absolutely help but you need to understand that falcons are birds of prey. They are violent and you will get hurt. You can't let them walk all over you. If you can handle a bird it will certainly love you and listen to you much better.

MurderJunkie1 karma

Question about the masks I always see the birds wearing. Supposedly it's for the training process. Mind elaborating on that?

Also they seem to always have a sort of tassel on the top? Does that serve a purpose or is it just cosmetic?

Here is the mask I'm talking about.


CrawdadMagoo4 karma

This is called a hood. It is used to calm the bird. When a falcon has a hood on it believes it is hidden from the outside world and no one can see it.

CrawdadMagoo2 karma

The tassel is just for decoration.

eco_971 karma

How does one exactly get a falcon to become a falconeer? I'm sure falcons aren't one of those things you can purchase at Walmart.

CrawdadMagoo1 karma

The easiest way is to trap one. You need to obtain a permit first, but there are many different types of traps you can use to catch a falcon.

burdalane2 karma

I don't mean to seem judgemental, but does it ever bother you that a falcon is losing its freedom?

bigcitycrows3 karma

After an initial training period of "hey yo I'm not going to hurt you, stick around and we'll make one hell of a hunting team" the birds caught from the wild are flown completely free. They can fly off whenever they want (some do); you'd only be taking away a falcon's freedom if you kept it in a cage and never hunted with it, which is pet-keeping, not falconry.

burdalane1 karma

I'm glad the falcons have the chance to leave if they want. Have you had a captured falcon fly off?

bigcitycrows3 karma

I am not Mr. Pollard, I apologize for not specifying in my previous reply; I am sure he has his own answer, but the premise of your question was a little off (which is understandable, not many people know how falconry works.)

If you look further down. Mr. Pollard states that he has had his falcons fly off on him and that he uses a transmitter temporarily attached to the falcon in order to relocate it. Many falconers do this. However, it's not a full-scale manhunt where the bird is captured after an escape attempt. If they want to keep going, they can.

Usually what happens is they see something more interesting elsewhere or are chased away from the area by a mob of crows or get tunnel-vision and chase a quarry that the falconer can't catch up to (maybe over a ridge or river.) When the bird realizes the falconer is no longer close by, they'll kind of settle somewhere after they've had their fun, the falconer will show up underneath them in the morning, the bird will come down to the falconer.

It's not like the falconer is chasing the falcon with a butterfly net, waiting for the bird to run out of energy.

CrawdadMagoo2 karma

Perfect bigcitycrows! Thank you for your wonderful description


Thank you for doing this AMA, it has been a life long dream of mine to at least try falconry. How did you start doing this? Is there a protocol to get involved and learn? Are there any societies or people in the southern NH area you know of who are experienced and would train someone? Is it expensive? Thanks again! Edit: Also meant to ask what you think of Parahawking?

CrawdadMagoo1 karma

Do some research on the internet. Every state has a falconry association and I'm sure you can find someone to sponsor your apprenticeship. It doesn't have to be expensive. Almost everything used can be made out of leather. And you can build your own facilities.


Also, this may be a stupid question, but it really is different than I originally thought, do you or your family consume all that you catch with the bird or is the bird the one who reaps the benefits of the kill?

CrawdadMagoo2 karma

If one of my birds kill a quarry I reward it by letting it eat all it wants. Though sometimes i'll save a breast for diner.

ChromeBoom1 karma

Where do the birds stay when you're not flying them or actively having them around. Do they have a 'dog house' type setup?

CrawdadMagoo3 karma

Yes each falcon I own has it's own "room" if you will. Each facility has appropriate perching and roosting areas.

SteiniDJ1 karma

Thanks for the AMA! Falcons are awesome, I see some every now and then but it's always a nice surprise when I do. I think they're gyrfalcons, but we also have the smaller merlins.

Where do you keep your falcons when you're not "using" them? Do they ever just sit around, as a parrot would?

What makes the falcon inclined to come back to you once you let it fly? Have you ever had a bird escape / get lost?

CrawdadMagoo1 karma

Yes I lose birds all the time. Which is why before I fly them I put a transmitter on them so I can track them using a retriever.

[deleted]0 karma


CrawdadMagoo5 karma


show_me_yo_tit-10 karma

Why do all falconers love to show off? Why do you think you're so special? Were you always a cunt, or did you just decide to become a cunt one day and falconry was the fastest possible way to become a cunt? Answers now.

CrawdadMagoo1 karma

Well if you think about most people love to show off. So I will admit falconers do show off but it's so easy when so many people are genuinely interested in your hobby. I think I'm special because I'm an ashkenazi jew fuck you. One day I was walking down the road and decided: man, you know what I love, cunts. From that point on I decided I'd be one. I waited so long to answer to piss you off.

whiteanglosaxonelite-11 karma

u a jew?

CrawdadMagoo3 karma

Yes I actually am. I'm not sure why this got so many down votes.