Sirocco, the majestic falcon, captured my heart from the very first moment I laid eyes on him. It was love at first sight when I saw him in a cat box with his tail carefully wrapped to prevent any harm while being transported from Sicily to Rome airport. As soon as our eyes met, it was evident that we were destined for each other. However, getting Sirocco to trust me and tame him was no easy task.
When a falcon is bred by its parents in the wild, they develop an innate fear of humans. As such, training Sirocco required ancient techniques that involved establishing myself as a primary source of survival – food. He started to trust me by feeding him very late at night with the light of only one candle.
At this early stage of taming; some falcons become traumatized exhibiting different reactions ranging from flinching , shouting , standing completely still or even biting their trainers .Sirocco proved uniquely shy yet seemed intrigued with my extended glove offering tasty treat meanwhile,I had to be mindful of my inner calm because animals especially birds are sensitive thus reacting strongly towards vibrations exhibited by their handlers.
Eventually he ate off my glove without much hesitation displayed positive traits which spurred further progress along the way till fully acclimatized enough for free flight it became clear how unique his character truly was.For day after day ,I watched over him nurturing and introducing new challenges all while balancing fine line between pushing too hard or relaxing too much during increasingly complex training sessions.
Indeed,Sirocco holds special place deep within heart as favourite above any other bird ..
First in the dark, then more and more light, first in the house then in the garden in the open air, we would spend hours together in the daytime, he on my fist with the tiring (a piece of bone with a little meat on it to keep him busy, a bit like a baby’s dummy) and we would walk in the woods. First in the woods, then in the company of a few friends, then a dozen people, then in the confusion he gradually got used to everything. At this point, after 4 to 5 days of taming, I began the training, which consisted of convincing the falcon. that it should not only eat from you but also fly to you, first from small distances of 10 to 20 cm, then more and more until it was released. Within a few days he immediately jumped on the glove as he saw the meat . In the total uncertainty of what was going to happen I decided to give him confidence and released him after only 8 days of training (crazy… it usually takes 2/3 weeks).
I gave him confidence and he gave me confidence. During that summer I was involved in falconry shows in castles in Trentino and in the high mountains. My show started at 10 o’clock and it was 9 o’clock. I looked at my friend Stefano, another falconer who was doing the show with me, and we both thought he was ready to fly. So I said: I’ll fly him before the show. And he told me: yes, he’s ready, don’t worry. As I took off at 2000 metres he took a turn above my head and left. Obviously I had to leave Stefano alone to fetch him. Luckily he still had no breath or muscles so he didn’t go that far but as you know in the mountains the slopes are very steep so it took me two hours to get him back. The grass, still wet from the morning dew, was almost up to my chest, so I came back at the end of the show soaking wet: things happen I exclaimed and all the people
From that fateful day forth, my falcon Sirocco blossomed into the finest bird of prey I had ever known. Gone was the nervousness and doubt; in its place emerged confidence and daring. Sirocco sailed through the skies of Europe fearlessly, ready to demonstrate his mastery at any moment.
That morning so many years ago, when he left to vanquish the demons that torment any devoted falconer, he delivered me a gift beyond measure. He gave me courage. Over the decades, Sirocco has proven himself the most trustworthy companion a man could hope for. Whenever we venture into the public sphere, he feels compelled to show off his aerial acrobatics, zipping just inches above people’s heads at breakneck speeds. His method of flight is truly one of a kind, as he stalks not a leather lure but a scarlet cloth, which he snatches and returns proudly to my outstretched fist. Such is a rare marvel, one that never ceases to elicit wonder and questions from onlookers.
“How is it possible?” they inevitably ask, and I smile, knowing the answer lies not in techniques or tricks, but in the profound bond we have forged. Through patience, practice and perseverance, Sirocco and I have crafted a partnership like no other. My falcon reads my every thought and feels my every emotion, just as I am attuned to his. Over the years, we have become two halves of a whole, sharing joy and sorrow, triumph and defeat as two beings fused into one. This, and this alone, is the secret behind Sirocco’s unmatched skill and devotion. Our fears are vanquished, our hearts as one, and in his muscular wings I have found my freedom.