Middleeast

The treasured sport of Falconry in the United Arab Emirates

Updated 7:00 AM ET, Thu February 2, 2017
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Emirati men pose with their Falcons after an evening training session. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
A falcon sits on a perch before being flown during an evening training session -- a cover is placed over its eyes to calm the bird down and ensure it doesn't fly off and hunt unexpectedly. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Falconers spend around six weeks training their birds to catch prey, according to Nasif Kayed from The Arab Culturalist. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Falconers in their four-by-four vehicle follow a hunting falcon at Al-Marzoom Hunting reserve, 150kms west of Abu Dhabi. The sport dates back thousands of centuries and has become such a significant part of the region's culture. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
The birds can cost anywhere between 2,000 dirhams ($544) and 70,000 dirhams ($19,058), according to Nasif Kayed from The Arab Culturalist. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
Emirati men watch as a small helicopter drone takes a lure consisting of a bundle of feathers up before letting their falcons catch it. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Traditionally, the birds were used as a way of obtaining food but nowadays they're kept as pets and used for sport. Owners develop a deep bond with their birds. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images