I attended the Utah Sky Trials on February 20th. The object of the event was to have a trained bird, falcon or hawk, hunt a pigeon (In retrospect I don’t recall seeing a hawk). The top ten birds had qualified the day before to participate in the final runs. In the 30-something years since the Utah Sky Trials began there have been only a handful of pigeons caught. The pigeons are specially trained to evade the birds of prey and the falconers have trained their birds to hunt the pigeons. You might call it a Bird Olympics where the best of the hunted attempt to outmaneuver the best hunters. Here’s a list of this year’s winners.
The officiators of the trials needed a volunteer to record the position of the birds as they circled to their desired hunting height, naturally I jumped at the chance to get closer. Since I was away from the crowd and very close to where the birds were released I was able to take some shots in between recording the bird’s position.