Sunday, June 30, 2013

FALCONRY 101, ORVIETO-STYLE

It's a beautiful almost-summer day for an outing in Orvieto. What to do? Having transplanted herself here over 50 years ago, our friend E knows everything that's going on the city, especially during its Jubilee Year. It's not every day that one gets to see birds of prey in action and even eat porchetta sandwiches in the process, so we took her suggestion to see nature in action.

In addition to the stunning views from the park above the city, a good part of the fun was to watch Italian kids and their families enjoy the demonstration. The last time I got this close to a "guffo" (like so many great Italian words, doesn't that sound more fun than "owl"?)  was when I rescued a baby guffo trapped in our pool (see ADVENTURE ON THE HIGH SEAS (OF OUR SWIMMING POOL) from July 2011). As you can see below, the adult version is way more impressive, especially when its wings are fully expanded.






I like the way this young lady's topknot echos that of the hooded falcon in front of her. At first I thought the bird was wearing a special leather hat for the occasion, but then I saw that it was designed to keep it from being distracted by all of us admirers. These birds of prey were indeed less fidgety than many in the audience.

This other owl also wanted to get in on the action. He sat quietly, waiting for his moment.
When the time came, his snowy-white wing span was a big hit with the crowd.


Below is the gorgeous setting for this display. These Umbrian fields were the backdrop, while in front are the fascinating Etruscan ruins of Orvieto Underground. Of course if you are an owl, you can rotate your head 360 degrees and take in the whole panorama at once. But instead of the mice and rats on their menu, we humans get to eat the luscious pasta with truffles to be found in Orvieto's wonderful restaurants. I think we get the better deal.  



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